x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Senegalese Papiss Cisse quits Newcastle tour on religious grounds

The striker, who is Muslim, withdraws after refusing to wear logo of Premier League club's sponsor.

Papiss Cisse has scored 26 times in all competitions since joining Newcastle in 2012. Chris Brunskill / Getty Images
Papiss Cisse has scored 26 times in all competitions since joining Newcastle in 2012. Chris Brunskill / Getty Images

LONDON // Papiss Cisse has withdrawn from Newcastle's pre-season tour of Portugal after refusing to wear club sponsor Wonga's logo on religious grounds, the BBC reported on Wednesday.

The Senegal striker, a Muslim, told club officials he was not prepared to promote Wonga, a firm which offers short-term, high-interest loans.

Islamic law forbids borrowing or paying money with interest.

However, the 28 year old did offer to wear an unbranded shirt or one bearing a charity logo instead.

Other sports teams have made concessions to the faith of their Muslim players, with South Africa cricketer Hashim Amla allowed to wear shirts without the logo of team sponsor Castle Lager because of the Islamic prohibition on drinking alcohol.

The BBC quoted sources saying Cisse's refusal to wear the sponsored shirt had left him in a "strained" relationship with the Premier League side.

Cheick Tiote and Moussa Sissoko, Cisse's Newcastle teammates, are also Muslim, but have told the club they have no issue with wearing the sponsor's logo.

Speaking in June, Bobby Barnes, the PFA deputy chief executive, told BBC Sport: "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."

Cisse joined the Magpies in January 2012 and has scored 26 times in all competitions.

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