Wonga sponsorship a deal breaker for Cisse's pre-season Newcastle United tour

Wonga: has a four-year sponsorship deal with Newcastle United
Wonga: has a four-year sponsorship deal with Newcastle United

Newcastle United striker Papiss Cisse has pulled out of the team's pre-season tour due to a deal with its lead sponsor, Wonga.

Cisse, 28, from Senegal, failed to board a plane to Portugal with the rest of the team today to start the tour. He has objected on religious grounds to wearing shirts branded with Wonga’s logo.

It has been reported that Cisse, who is open about his Muslim beliefs, offered to wear a non-branded Newcastle shirt or a charity branded shirt in order to play.

Newcastle United’s two previous sponsors are banks Northern Rock and Virgin Money, but the four-year deal with controversial payday lender Wonga started in October last year.

Wonga will sponsor the club for the next four years and said at the time it has no intention of claiming naming rights to the team’s stadium, which has returned to the original name of St James’ Park. 

Bobby Barnes, deputy chief executive of the Professional Footballer’s Association (PFA), told the BBC that,  "We’re all aware that clubs need to generate revenue and sometimes have to use a wide range of companies.

"However, if someone feels very, very strongly that it’s not compatible with their beliefs, then some sort of solution should be found."

Both Cisse and the club’s officials are still in talks. Wonga declined to comment on the issue.  

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