After a battle over Newcastle’s jersey sponsor Wonga, striker Papiss Cisse has finally agreed to endorse the Magpies jersey. He was against wearing it since he stated the logo contradicted his religious beliefs.
Wonga is a website which offers high-interest loans to customers, a practice which violates Muslim law. Earlier this month, Cisse announced his refusal to wear the club’s uniform because of the sponsor’s logo emblazoned on the front of the Newcastle jersey. Newcastle and Wonga reached a new £24 million ($36.6 million) deal over four years.
According to The Guardian, Cisse’s lack of cooperation left him behind in England as the club trained in Portugal for the upcoming season. Cisse had demanded he wear a jersey with no sponsorship or a jersey with a charity logo rather than Wonga’s.
Newcastle had little interest in accommodating Cisse’s request as it would hurt future sponsorship and set a precedent which players can choose which sponsors should partner with the team.
Cisse’s argument was put to the test when photos of him gambling at a casino surfaced earlier this week, which violates Muslim law. Also, Newcastle’s previous sponsor, Virgin Money, offers mortgages and other financial services, which Cisse took no issue with the sponsor during last year’s campaign. Cisse plans to rejoin the club in pre-season training. [Source: Business of soccer]
A very interesting case between a player, a club and their main sponsor. Managing all sides is for sure a difficult exercise. Although all religious beliefs must be respected, it’s a long stretch to accomodate players’ request based on their religious belief over the club’s business targets and strategy.
What’s your take?