Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse has refused to wear the team’s new kit which bears the logo of Wonga.com.
The Senegalese Muslim’s refusal to wear the new kit adds to the controversy surrounding Newcastle’s new sponsor. Cisse is a practicing Muslim and has protested to club officials on religious and ethical grounds about the pay-day loan company’s deal.
According to Shariah law, Muslims cannot financially benefit from lending or receiving money from another person – the Islamic prohibition of interest. Interest is not paid or taken on Islamic bank accounts or added to Shariah compliant mortgages.
Cisse’s team mates, Cheick Tiote and Hatem Ben Arfa, who are also practicing Muslims, may also refuse to wear the new kit.
Newcastle are currently in the process of working out a compromise with Cisse. A similar scenario has occurred previously that may offer a solution like the stance of former Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United striker Freddie Kanoute.
The Malian Muslim refused to wear the logo of gambling website 888.com on his Seville shirt a few years ago. Alternatively, Kanoute wore an unbranded top in La Liga matches, although he agreed to wear the logo during training sessions.
Kanoute later agreed to wear the shirt in exchange for being exempt from any of the promotional activities the sponsorship involved.
Fan’s outrage over Wonga
Wonga’s four-year deal takes over from Virgin Money at the start of next season and has already attracted heavy criticism from fans for the huge interest charged on its 30-day loans.
If a Newcastle fan accepted a loan to buy a Newcastle shirt for £50, they would have to repay £71.92 after a month with a rate equivalent to 4,212 per cent a year.