There was news yesterday that Papiss Cisse will refuse to wear the new Newcastle strip bearing the Wonga.com insignia of the new sponsors, because they are in the business of lending money.
Papiss Cisse wearing the Virgin Money insignia
The Muslim faith bars Muslims from paying or receiving interest on loans, and interest is not paid on Islamic bank accounts or added to mortgages.
And of course Wonga is a pay-day lender, and that seems to be the basis of the story, although we didn’t see any quotes from the player himself.
That’s one clue that it may be a made up story, although there have been times when even the quotes have been made up to make a story appear more real.
But why is there any difference to the Virgin Money sponsor Newcastle had – they have loans as well – and they are no different in principle – although Wonga charges ridiculously high interest rates.
Pay-day lenders are not legal in some states over here in America – including North Carolina.
There were stories a year last January that Demba Ba would refuse to wear the shirt with the Virgin Money logo om it, but he wore it and so did Papiss Cisse when he joined that club that January.
And there was a story yesterday that Bolton Chairman Phil Gartside had refused to go with pay-day lender QuickQuid as a sponsor, because of the adverse reaction of the Bolton fans, after announcing a two-year deal only last week.
Bolton issued this statement yesterday:
“Whilst we anticipated some negative responses from the initial agreement, we underestimated the adverse reaction to the sector of business in which the sponsor operated.”
And we also heard the same story 18 months ago about former Tottenham and West Ham striker Freddie Kanoute refusing to wear the logo of gambling website 888.com on his Seville shirt some years ago.
Freddie finally agreed to wear the shirt, but was excused from any of the promotional duties for the sponsor.
News is slow at the moment, and we’d be surprised if there was much truth in this story on Papiss.
Wonga has a four-year deal with Newcastle which is worth anywhere from to £6M to £8M a year, and they have also agreed to invest money in St. James’ Park and the Youth Academy, and they are currently paying for the repainting of the roof at the Gallowgate end of the stadium back to silver grey, to eliminate those ghastly SportsDirect.com signs.
But Newcastle fans are still unhappy (very unhappy) about the Wonga sponsorship – but as we said before we’d be surprised if this story about Papiss Cisse is true.
What do you think?
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org