Profile: Jeremy Gilley

The man marketing world peace

Zoopla on the brink of axing West Brom deal over controversial Anelka salute

Zoopla is threatening to axe its shirt deal with West Bromwich Albion if Nicolas Anelka continues to play for the club over fears the brand’s Jewish roots are being tarnished by the worsening furore around his controversial ‘quenelle’ goal celebration.

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Zoopla has threatened to axe its deal with West Bromwich Albion if Anelka continues to play, according to sources.

Sources have told Marketing Week the property portal warned the West Midlands club it will axe the tie-up with immediate effect if the French striker plays against Everton on Monday (20 January). Zoopla, which is co-owned by Jewish businessman Alex Chesterman, is thought to have delivered the ultimatum earlier this week claiming it does not want to be associated with the gesture because it has anti-Semitic connotations.

It is likely Anelka will face the Merseyside side club next week, however, with one source close to the matter claiming the club is not prepared to let sponsors dictate its team selection. West Brom are believed to have already made early inquires into securing a temporary sponsor for the remainder of the season should Zoopla act on its threat. The property firm’s two-year deal with the club ends this season and the club is “confident’ of being able to find a new long-term backer given the League’s growing popularity, according to the source.    

The club has backed the former Arsenal star’s protest that the salute was done as a tribute to French comedian and friend Dieudonné, but has conceded it did cause offence. Anelka could be slapped with a mutli-match ban pending the results of the Football Association’s (FA) investigation.

A spokesman for the club said: “West Bromwich Albion will be making no further comment until the FA has concluded its investigation, and the club its own internal enquiry, into the matter.”

Zoopla did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.

It is not the first time a Premier League sponsor has had to wade into controversies involving players. In 2012, Standard Chartered slammed Liverpool FC striker Luis Suarez for refusing to shake Manchester United’s Patrice defender Evra’s hand ahead of a match and voiced its concerns with the club.

Readers' comments (10)

  • I feel that signing Anelka has been an unmitigated disaster. He has done little for us on the field of play and is bringing us into disrepute off it. As far as I'm concerned the sooner we part company the better.

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  • Anelka has bought disgrace on our shirt in my opinion. He has failed to apologise for what he did. I find it hard to believe he was ignorant of the meaning of the qinnelle and at the very least he will receive a 5 game ban. I say terminate his contract immediately and show the world we will not be associated with his disgraceful behaviour.

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  • We have a proud tradition at West Brom of leading the way as a non-rascist, family club. Anelka is not fit to wear the same shirt as Cyrille Regis, Laurie Cunningham and Brendan Batson.
    Racism cannot be condoned against one minority and accepted against another.

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  • Well said previous posters...the Baggies' anti-racist history is bigger than this multi-millionaire chump's stupid non-excuse for offensive behaviour...go Nico to a la-la land where the mega-rich like you can play at being "anti-system' - not!

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  • I believe Zoopla will find it harder to get another football team to sponsor, than West Brom will to get a new shirt sponsor.
    Not waiting until the FA investigation is concluded seems particularly idiotic.
    I would be very wary of criticising a player over something I know nothing about except media has told me I should feel offended.
    It has been noted that 33,000 French readers of Le Point (77%) answered that the quenelle was not offensive in a recent poll, so probably wise to err on the side of innocent until proven guilty with this one.

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  • Cancel Anelkas contract for bringing the club into disrepute, there has to be a clause for this in his contract.

    Get rid of Zoopla as well, They clearly have no regard for West Brom.

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  • It's good to see someone taking a position on this. The club haven't - a disgrace.

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  • The FA should be investigating Zoopla what right do they think they have to effectively say what team should be fielded, that's bringing the game into disrepute.

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  • in response to the Phil McAvity. The Germans in the 1930s who did Hitler salutes also had no idea how offensive it was or how wrong it was. More of a reason to punish Anelka, so we can educate the 77% ignorant morons in society what this signs really mean.

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  • Irregardless of how easy/difficult it would be for Zoopla to get another sponsorship, at least the stand by their morals and principals.
    Who cares what the think of West Brom.? They're a sponsor and that's it.

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