Premier League - Zoopla to end West Brom shirt sponsorship over Anelka gesture

Zoopla will not renew its shirt sponsorship deal with West Brom in protest at the club’s decision to continue playing Nicolas Anelka, who is being investigated for an allegedly anti-Semitic gesture.

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Premier League - Zoopla to end West Brom shirt sponsorship over Anelka gesture
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2013 Premier League West Bromwich Albion Nicolas Anelka

Zoopla, a property website company co-owned by Jewish businessman Alex Chesterman, is unhappy the former France striker has been playing despite making a 'quenelle' gesture during the game with West Ham United three weeks ago.

It had been reported that the sponsor demanded he is dropped against Everton or else they would immediately cancel their £3 million per season deal, which was set to run down this summer but was expected to be renewed.

While that threat to immediately cancel the arrangement has not been fully carried out, Zoopla will end their association with the Baggies in the summer.

"Zoopla has been reviewing its position over the past few weeks in light of the actions of striker, Nicolas Anelka," a statement from the property website said.

Anelka is being investigated by the FA for making the gesture after scoring the first of his two goals in a 3-3 draw at West Ham in the league on December 28.

The quenelle, invented by French comedian Dieudonne, has drawn widespread condemnation in Anelka's homeland and from anti-racist and Jewish groups in England who have demanded the player be banned.

Anelka, 34, has played in every league game since making the gesture. He promised no repeat but did not apologise for his actions, which he claimed were "anti-establishment" and not anti-Jewish.

A spokesman for the club said: "West Bromwich Albion will be making no further comment until the Football Association has concluded its investigation and the club its own internal inquiry into the matter."

Last week the Jewish Chronicle newspaper accused the FA and West Brom of failing to deal with the matter quickly enough while Kick It Out anti-racism campaigners said they were "very frustrated" with the time taken to reach a conclusion.

Spaniard Pepe Mel, new coach of 14th-placed West Brom, will be in charge for the first time on Monday.

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