MAINZ, Germany (AP) — German club Mainz insists that a friendly game with Saudi-owned Newcastle will go ahead as planned amid criticism from its fans. Fans of Mainz and third-division 1860 Munich have protested that the games amount to sportswashing. That is the use of sports events to burnish Saudi Arabia’s image and play down human rights issues. Mainz management offered to meet fans to discuss their criticism of Saudi Arabia but said the game on July 18 at a training camp in Austria would go ahead for contractual reasons. The management argued Mainz had few opportunities to play leading European clubs.
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