Zoopla pulls plug on West Brom after Anelka salute
Shirt sponsor ends deal after player accused of anti-Semitism after 'quenelle' gesture
NICOLAS ANELKA'S controversial "quenelle" goal celebration appears to have cost West Brom dear after the club's shirt sponsor, property website Zoopla, announced it was ending its deal at the end of the season because of the incident.
The two-year deal between West Brom and Zoopla was signed in May 2012 and is believe to be worth around £3m a year. It was due to expire in the summer but the website has announced that the deal will not be extended and, in doing so, made it clear why.
"Zoopla has been reviewing its position over the past few weeks in light of the actions of striker, Nicolas Anelka, during the match against West Ham over the Christmas period and has decided to focus its attention on other marketing activities after this season," it said in a statement.
Anelka made the quenelle gesture after scoring for the Baggies against Everton on 28 December. The sign, made with one arm pointing downwards and the other across the chest, has been likened to an inverted Nazi salute and has anti-Jewish connotations.
"It was brought to prominence by the French comedian Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala, who has been prosecuted for anti-Semitism," reports The Guardian, which explains that the comedian is a friend of the footballer.
"Anelka has agreed not to perform the celebration again after West Brom conceded the gesture had caused offence but the French striker has denied the salute had any anti-Semitic connotations."
Last week it was reported that Zoopla, which is owned by Jewish businessman Alex Chesterman, had demanded that Anelka be left out of the side. However, the club refused to bow to the sponsors demands.
"The 34-year-old is expected to be in the squad for the game against Everton, with Albion rigidly sticking to their original statement issued last month that insisted they would continue to consider Anelka for selection while the investigation is ongoing," reports the Daily Telegraph.
The FA is expected to reveal the outcome of its investigation this week, with the player facing "a potential minimum five-match ban under new anti-racism rules".