According to an article by Adrian Bishop, Editor, OPP Connect,UK property portal Zoopla.co.uk has announced it will cease its sponsorship of Premiership side next season. This decision comes after the controversial anti-Semitic celebratory hand gesture - the ‘quenelle’ - by striker Nicolas Anelka.
The ‘quenelle’ is a dumpling made of minced meat or fish bound with egg and poached, however, recently it has become an anti-Semitic hand gesture which has spread across France, due in part to comedian Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala’s repeated use of the gesture during his shows, in which he merges the Nazi salute with an obscene insult named the ‘bras d’honneur.’
Below is the reprint of the original article as it appeared on OPP Connect.
Zoopla ends West Brom sponsorship over Anelka gesture
Property website, Zoopla is ending its £3million sponsorship deal with premiership football club West Bromich Albion over a controversial goal celebration by striker Nicolas Anelka.
The experienced forward is alleged to have made a ‘quenelle’ gesture, which is viewed by some as being anti-Semitic, after scoring against West Ham in December. He says he meant no offence by it.
Zoopla is co-owned by Jewish businessman Alex Chesterman. The incident is being investigated by the sport’s governing body, the Football Association.
The sponsorship, which is believed to be worth £3million, started in May 2012, was due to finish at the end of the season but Zoopla.co.uk will not renew.
The company says in a statement, “Zoopla, the principal sponsor of Premier League football club West Bromwich Albion, has announced today that it will end its sponsorship at the end of the current season.
“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.
“Zoopla has worked closely with the club and the local community throughout its two-season sponsorship, having committed over £100,000 to the Albion Foundation and other local charities, and will continue to meet its obligations for the rest of the current season.”
Zoopla’s Head of Communications, Lawrence Hall says, “Through our sponsorship of West Bromwich Albion we are pleased to have supported the local community and charities. In recent weeks, however, we have decided to re-evaluate this sponsorship and as a result we will focus our attention on other marketing activities from the end of the season.”
The gesture, which Mr Anelka views as being “anti-system” rather than connected with religion, was brought to prominence by French comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, a friend of Mr Anelka, who has been prosecuted for anti-Semitism and caused a row in France.
The former French national team footballer tweeted, “Of course, I am neither racist nor anti-Semitic and I fully assume my gesture. The meaning of quenelle is anti-system. I do not know what religion has to do with this story.”
A statement from the football club says, “West Bromwich Albion has been fully aware since the sponsorship agreement came into force in June 2012 that its partnership with Zoopla could expire this summer and therefore has been planning accordingly.
‘Zoopla has today informed the Club in writing that it does not wish to extend its sponsorship deal. The Club will now actively seek a new Official Sponsor for next season.”
West Brom take on Everton in the Premier League tonight (Monday 20 January) and Anelka is playing.
* Zoopla previously took advantage of transfer speculation surrounding Manchester United and England star Wayne Rooney possibly being bought by rivals Chelsea by parking a van outside its Old Trafford ground with a poster saying, “Looking for a home in West London, Wayne?”
By Adrian Bishop, Editor, OPP Connect