Magpies upset at FA decision

Newcastle are 'extremely disappointed' after being told by the FA to scrap their friendly with FC Utrecht.

Utrecht friendly called off due to clash with Amsterdam Tournament

Newcastle United say they are 'extremely disappointed' after being told by the Football Association to scrap their pre-season friendly with FC Utrecht. The Magpies were scheduled to face Utrecht on 26th July, but local rivals Sunderland are playing in the Amsterdam Tournament between 24th and 26th July. The FA had initially given their approval for the North East neighbours to play in Holland, but permission for Newcastle to face Utrecht has now been withdrawn. Amsterdam's mayor Job Cohen had called for Sunderland to be banned from the tournament due to fears of trouble between the two sets of fans, but the FA has now explained why Newcastle will not be able to play in Holland.

Reluctant

"Following conversations with the KNVB [the Dutch FA] and the Mayor of Amsterdam's office, the FA has reluctantly withdrawn permission for Newcastle United to play a friendly with Utrecht on Sunday 26th July," read an FA statement. "Sunderland had applied for permission to participate in the Amsterdam tournament, with matches on 24th and 26th July, while Newcastle applied to play Utrecht on 26th July. "After liaising with the KNVB and the UK and Dutch Police, permission was given to both clubs with assurances made to the FA that there were no objections to both teams playing in Holland at the same time. "Following concerns raised by the Mayor of Amsterdam, it became clear that only one of the two teams would be able to travel to Holland and the FA actively sought to resolve the situation. "Priority was given to Sunderland for three reasons; their application to play was received first, tickets have already been sold to their supporters, and travel arrangements have already been made. "Newcastle United have not yet sold any tickets to their supporters."

Unenviable position

The Magpies have responded to the FA's statement and are unhappy at being forced to change their pre-season plans at such short notice. A club statement ready: "Newcastle United wish to place on record that they are extremely disappointed by this decision, especially given the fact that on 30th June 2009, the Football Association had approved their application to play in Utrecht, this following discussions with the Dutch FA, Dutch Police, and our own UK Football Policing Unit. "The club now finds itself with its pre-season programme of games disrupted and in the unenviable position of trying to organise another game over that weekend in a very short space of time. "It should be noted also that Newcastle United had already organised flights and hotel accommodation for its travelling party for the game in Holland. "Newcastle United would like to apologise to its supporters for this situation, particularly those that may have already made travel arrangements, however it is clearly a matter that is completely out of its own control."

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