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West Brom may lose shirt sponsor as Anelka ‘quenelle’ saga drags on; How has FA not ruled?

Jan 17, 2014, 9:55 PM EDT

West Bromwich Albion v Bologna - Pre Season Friendly Getty Images

The furor over Nicolas Anelka‘s “quenelle” post-goal salute continues to grow and, frankly, it’s more than a little disconcerting that people in power haven’t stepped up to find a solution.

A quick recap: In late December, Anelka scored a brace for West Brom in a 3-3 draw. For one of his celebrations, he mimicked a salute from his comedian friend that has come to be considered as anti-Semitic. The FA still hasn’t handed out discipline and the Baggies excuse has been that they’re waiting for the FA.

The latest development? West Bromwich Albion may lose their shirt sponsor Zoopla if Anelka plays on Monday night. It’s a pretty safe bet he will, as the Baggies won’t want to set a dangerous precedent by letting a sponsor dictate team selection, but the point is much greater.

The news, like most strong football talk, comes from Marketing Week:

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.

How has anyone with any PR mind, let alone human decency, allowed this to go on as long as it has? Anelka made the anti-semitic gesture on Dec. 28, and the FA still hasn’t ruled on a suspension. You could easily argue that the chant that earned Croatian defender Josep Simunic a World Cup ban was of the same ilk as Anelka, and justice has been sorted out.

Anelka has a much bigger name than Simunic, so is that’s what’s going on here? The story’s gone from West Brom dismissing it as “a salute to a friend,” to Anelka defending his character to the club publicly stating they’ve asked Anelka not to do it again (and the player’s agreement).

The FA needs to rule. West Brom needs to adhere. And every public relations student in England should be taught this case as how not to operate a business.

  1. Matthew - Jan 18, 2014 at 2:17 AM

    Reblogged this on Carolina Mountain Blue and commented:
    I’m of two minds on this….on the one hand, given the position West Brom is in at present, odds are Anelka will be on the pitch Monday agst. Everton. On the other hand, given the controversy over Anelka’s display of the quenelle salute a few weeks back, this has the potential to get very ugly very fast.

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