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SBD Global/October 11, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Newcastle's Muslim Players Unlikely To Protest Wonga Deal, Sources Say

EPL club Newcastle United is "unlikely to face the threat of a protest or boycott" from its four Muslim players over the controversial £25M ($40.1M) sponsorship deal with short-term loans company Wonga, according to Jason Mellor of the LONDON TIMES. Concerns have been raised that Newcastle’s Islamic players Demba Ba, Papiss Demba Cissé, Hatem Ben Arfa and Cheik Tioté "could refuse to wear shirts carrying the company’s logo under the observance of Sharia." The club made no official comment on the issue Wednesday night, "but sources close to the team played down the prospect of any form of protest or refusal to wear the shirt once the new deal comes into effect" next season. The Muslim Council of Britain has insisted that there is an "element of personal choice in how closely this particular strand of Sharia is followed." Sources "close to the four players" noted that a protest "would run the risk of hypocrisy" because of Newcastle’s previous shirt sponsors, Virgin Money and Northern Rock, both also money lenders (LONDON TIMES, 10/11).
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