CAIRO - After months of complaining to the administration, a Newcastle Muslim striker has objected on religious and ethical grounds to wear a shirt that carries the logo of the club's new sponsor; a sky-high interest rates loan company.
"Star striker [Papiss] Cisse, a practicing Muslim, is against helping promote Wonga, who have attracted criticism for charging sky-high interest rates that allegedly target the poor, the Daily Mirror said in an exclusive report.
"The Senegal star has informed the Magpies of his objections, on religious and ethical grounds, to advertising the pay-day loan company while playing for them, the paper added.
Islam and World Football Stars
Criticism was raised last October when the Newcastle United signed a four-year £24 million sponsorship deal with Wonga, a short-term loan company.
But the deal has prompted calls for Muslim players in Newcastle not to wear shirts with the logo of the loans company, which charges 4.214% interest on its internet payday loans, as their faith bans usury.
Newcastle United has four practicing Muslim players; Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse, Cheick Tiote and Hatem Ben Arfa.
According to news reports, if a Newcastle United fan was to borrow enough to buy the new shirt from Wonga.com, they would have to repay £71.92 after a month.
The sponsorship deal has also triggered uproar in the sports spectrum in Britain.
Yet, Newcastle moved on, launching their new away kit with Wonga as the main sponsor.
Islam forbids Muslims from usury, receiving or paying interest on loans.
The new deal resembles a similar situation when Muslim footballer Frederic Kanoute refused to wear the logo of gambling website 888.com with his team Seville because of his Islamic beliefs.
Unlike Newcastle, Bolton club dropped plans to be sponsored by another pay-day loan company, QuickQuid, earlier this week after fan protests.
The club said it had taken the decision after feedback from fans and politicians.
Almost 4,500 people signed a petition against the deal and Bolton are now sponsored by FibrLec, a sustainable-energy company.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net