Is Wonga Deal Really A Problem For Newcastle’s Muslim Players?


The Muslim Council of Britain’s (MCB) has criticized Newcastle’s deal with Wonga announced last Tuesday, and we have seen all the reports that some of our players will not be able to wear the shirt with the Wonga logo on it because of religious reasons  – but we wonder if this is a real problem?

Freddie Kanoute – a precedent for not wearing a logo on club shirt

The difficulty is that under Sharia law, Muslims cannot benefit from either lending money or receiving money from another person, and Muslims basically don’t believe in interest and making money from money, as people do in the Western world.

Hence the problem with Wonga, who charge exorbitant amounts of interest on their pay-day loans, to the very people who just cannot afford it.

We had seen the reports earlier this week, and saw there was a precedent with Frederic Kanoute when he was at West Ham, and thought there’s a solution if the Muslim first team starters players at Newcastle – Demba Ba, Papiss Cissé, Cheick Tioté and Hatem Ben Arfa – have a problem with wearing the Wonga logo – they don’t have to wear it.

Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra is the assistant General Secretary of the MCB, and he told the Belfast Telegraph the Newcastle players shouldn’t wear the Wonga logo:

“There are aspects to this. We have the rulings of the religious law and we have the individual’s choice and decision on how they want to follow or not follow that rule.”

“The idea is to protect the vulnerable and the needy from exploitation by the rich and powerful. When they are lending and are charging large amounts of interest, it means the poor will have short-term benefit from the loan but long-term difficulty in paying it back because the rate of interest is not something they can keep up with.”

“The Islamic system is based on a non-interest-based system of transaction.”

And Mogra cited Fredric Kanoute, the former striker at West Ham, who refused to wear the logo for gambling site 888.com on his shirt, and there was an agreement reached that he didn’t have to wear the logo.

This is what Mogra said about Kanoute:

“Freddie was allowed to wear a top without the 888.com and that is a reasonable request to be made by the player.” “Assuming all four are on the pitch at the same time, if you have seven out of 11, you have sufficient coverage. It is not asking too much, I believe.”

If you do a google search on Freddie Kanoute you will see lots of pictures with him wearing the 888.com on his West Ham shirt, so he seems to have worn it for some time.

We wonder if this is a real problem, since there’s already been a precedent set, and that was worked out fairly easily – it seems that if any one of our four Muslim players doesn’t want to wear the Wonga sign on their shirt for religious reasons – they don’t have to.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

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30 comments so far

  • sticklebricks

    Oct 12, 2012 at 9:44 AM

    Comment #1

    No doubt the Muslim Council of Britain were more than happy to take a bung to put this story out though… Probably from Ba’s agent…

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  • archaeomag

    Oct 12, 2012 at 9:45 AM

    Comment #2

    It is worth noting, [again], that all the Major religions including Christianity were originally opposed to Usury; [lending money with interest].
    It was not until the time of Henry VIII, and the Catholic/ Protestant splits of C16th that money lending became more widely accepted in Christianity.
    Until then ‘banking’ was often the preserve of Jewish people – which is why they were occasionally persecuted and expelled – as away of solving a ‘Debt Crisis’.
    Strangely, while money lending was abhorred, slavery was considered acceptable – beware of moral relativism even in Football.

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  • rainrix

    Oct 12, 2012 at 9:47 AM

    Comment #3

    Likely the press making a mountain out of a molehill again. Although if they do have a problem just don’t wear the sponsor no big deal. Seriously i wouldn’t be surprised to see a headline saying “NEWCASTLES MUSLIM PLAYERS HAND IN TRANSFER REQUESTS OVER WONGA FIASCO!!!” 🙂

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  • archaeomag

    Oct 12, 2012 at 9:51 AM

    Comment #4

    @rainrix
    – now you’ve done it – that will be in Sun/Mirror tomorrow – where do you think they get their stories from?

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  • martoon

    Oct 12, 2012 at 9:54 AM

    Comment #5

    I’ve posted this before but I’m still struggling to understand the difference between this and when Northern Rock / Virgin Money were/are the sponsor who also make money by charging interest. I know the latter rates are not as high but they still earn a lot of money over the length of a mortgage as opposed to the short term times of Wonga.

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  • rainrix

    Oct 12, 2012 at 9:55 AM

    Comment #6

    @archaeomag… Do you think being a fan gets me the infamous title of “source close to the club” ? 🙂

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  • Transfer Sage

    Oct 12, 2012 at 9:57 AM

    Comment #7

    I don’t see how this is an issue.

    The problem is with interest not the amount.

    Therefore if they were willing to wear Virgin and northern rock there is no reason wonga should be any different.

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  • archaeomag

    Oct 12, 2012 at 9:59 AM

    Comment #8

    @rainrix .
    . .and The Chronicle understands . .

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  • richyg01

    Oct 12, 2012 at 10:01 AM

    Comment #9

    None of them have a problem with wearing the Virgin Money or Northern Rock Logos.

    They are profit based institutions who charge interest on borrowing the same as Wonga.

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  • Krul to be Kind

    Oct 12, 2012 at 10:01 AM

    Comment #10

    Alan Pardew has told the players to forget all about the clubs new sponsorship deal with Wonga. he’s told them to just get on the pitch and give it 4107%

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  • numba9

    Oct 12, 2012 at 10:02 AM

    Comment #11

    Hypocrites

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  • Sheikh MagToon

    Oct 12, 2012 at 10:08 AM

    Comment #12

    This is all political clap trap, as evidenced by local politicians sticking their oar in. They are irrelevant and so is this story so let’s all move on.

    Happy birthday to one of the most important players to have been at the Toon in the last decade and probably the longest lasting Geordie first team player for a generation. Have a good one Shola and don’t forget to do what you do best next weekend: score against the mackems.

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  • Rotonda heights

    Oct 12, 2012 at 10:10 AM

    Comment #13

    Doesn’t stop demba ba’s agents pimping him out to the highest bidder

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  • toonarmydownsouth

    Oct 12, 2012 at 10:11 AM

    Comment #14

    They all wore northern rock
    They all wore virgin money
    They all play in and were the badges of the barclays premier league
    They played in (granted not for long) the capital one league cup with the badges on there sleeves
    The footballers are the rich and powerful along with there agents

    Complete non story from a group trying to get some media coverage by the sounds of it

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  • seancavaz

    Oct 12, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    Comment #15

    Bollocks

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  • sholasupporter

    Oct 12, 2012 at 10:17 AM

    Comment #16

    I’m guessing that because of these beliefs all of the players mentioned will be depositing their 50k per week into a non interest bank account!

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  • jawballsaswallwell

    Oct 12, 2012 at 10:17 AM

    Comment #17

    Speaking of our very excellent Muslim players, I too think Cheik is probably wound up way too tight for the overall good of the team right now, but I don’t think I care, he is a magnificent beast and a joy to behold. I can’t wait to see him unleashed in the dark place. Can not wait!

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  • vibroguy

    Oct 12, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    Comment #18

    It isn’t going to be an issue until next season anyway when (god forbid) all of them might be playing elsewhere. But I would like to hear from the players their thoughts.
    Also both Northern Rock and Virgin Money both loan money out, so where was the issue then?

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  • brian kilclines pony tail

    Oct 12, 2012 at 10:39 AM

    Comment #19

    i wonder if all players (whatever religion) should leave the premier league? dosnt the premier leagues sponsor barclays lend people money, attempt to fix libor rates and have been accused of making £500 million this year alone from world hunger. I am sure that this bank is much worse than wonga but it seems to be forgotten because it has been there for years.
    in my book making someone die by denying them food is much worse than lending someone £50 to pay back £100.

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  • jakesome

    Oct 12, 2012 at 10:57 AM

    Comment #20

    Erm…… Pretty sure virgin money charge interest on their loans. Pathetic

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  • Sav

    Oct 12, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    Comment #21

    Isn’t alcohol another issue? Has there been any such fuss about muslim players sporting Carlsberg? Come to think of it, what about ‘Barclay’s’ Premier League? If you think Womga is bad, look up Barclay’s history since the 70s.
    No, this is just typical reaction when Newcastle are involved. Free publicity for every loser who wants his 15 minutes’ worth.

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  • Wandering Geordie

    Oct 12, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    Comment #22

    ….Jeez now religion is brought into football conversation on here……When will it end? At the end of the day it is a game with a ball……Still they always said that football is a religion..

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  • brian kilclines pony tail

    Oct 12, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    Comment #23

    @ Wandering Geordie – this is not really about religion, i think its more of an attack by the southern based press on our club once again.
    this was not mentioned when villa, everton, liverpool, stoke, swansea, west ham or wigan did their sponsorship deals.

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  • Wandering Geordie

    Oct 12, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    Comment #24

    A Brian Kilcline.I agree but there is an element of religion involved.Newcastle is always flavour of the month in the eyes of the southern press.Attack upon attack.when will it end?

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  • brian kilclines pony tail

    Oct 12, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    Comment #25

    @ Wandering Geordie – a few strongly worded emails to this site may help, there must be an area for unfair journalism or some similar charge.

    http://www.pcc.org.uk/complaints/makingacomplaint.html

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  • Wandering Geordie

    Oct 12, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    Comment #26

    @Brian Kilcline- Thanks will drop them a line.The more that does then maybe ,just maybe it may stop

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  • corbymagpie

    Oct 12, 2012 at 3:21 PM

    Comment #27

    Trust me this has nothing to do with the Muslim players of Nufc! It’s the media writing about it trying to stoke up some ill feeling about Nufc / Islam. Not one of the players has refused to wear shirt etc… It remains to be seen if they do, but like everyone is saying, shudnt be playing in Barclays Premier League! On a positive note, let’s hope Ivory Coast beat Senegal! We have cover for Tiote in brigama and Anita but short on strikers…

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  • breno95

    Oct 12, 2012 at 5:09 PM

    Comment #28

    To sum this article up very quickly:-
    What a load of BS and I hope that there is no more reference to the new sponsorship deal at all.
    Please!

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  • zacharias

    Oct 12, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    Comment #29

    Guys, I am a muslim, and I am also aware of the usury thingy that is wrong from the sharia perspective.

    My question, why bring it up now? Northern Rock is a bank, that also benefited from interest/ usury. so was virgin money. Why was there no issue about them, but such a big deal about Wonga.

    Serious inconsistency by MCB. they should be ashamed of themselves.

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  • Rem

    Oct 12, 2012 at 11:27 PM

    Comment #30

    The Kanoute story is rubbish. Have a look on google images, hw wore Sevilla shirt with betting sponsors!

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