West Brom shirt sponsors Zoopla have confirmed that they will end their sponsorship deal with the club at the end of the season after Baggies coach Pepe Mel refused to drop Nicolas Anelka, reports Sky
Zoopla had originally threatened to terminate the deal if West Brom did not axe their controversial striker, who celebrated a goal against West Ham using the “quenelle” gesture pioneered by the striker’s friend, French comedian Dieudonne M’Bala M’Bala.
M’Bala M’Bala is banned from performing his act in much of France, as it is perceived as too anti-Semitic. While the comedian insists it is a symbol of anti-establishment, though it has been widely interpreted as a reversed Nazi salute.
Anelka apologized after using the gesture, promising not to use it again – but insisted he did not use it in anti-Semitic intentions.
Zoopla, which was co-founded by American Jewish businessman Alex Chesterman, began their £3m sponsorship of the Baggies in 2012 – but have now announced that the deal will end at the end of the season.
It had been reported that Zoopla asked for Anelka to play in an unbranded shirt as a compromise, though these reports were unconfirmed. While Anelka is not confirmed to feature in West Brom’s match against Everton on Monday evening, the former Arsenal striker is still waiting to hear back on a charge of misconduct from the FA.
If found guilty, the 34-year-old journeyman could face a minimum ban of five games.
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