West Brom kit sponsor may end deal over Anelka controversy

As the Premier League continues to investigate Nicolas Anelka’s controversial goal celebration on Boxing Day, West Brom may find themselves without a kit sponsor if they continue to play the Frenchman.

Sources have told Marketing Week that property website Zoopla will nix their agreement immediately if Anelka plays for the Baggies against Everton on Monday, or any other game this season.

Anelka landed in hot water for his “quenelle” gesture, which French politicians have associated with anti-Semitism aimed towards Jews. Zoopla is co-owned by a Jewish businessman, and the Marketing Week report said that an “ultimatum” was made earlier this week.

As Sky Sports reports, West Brom have declined comment on the matter.


Anelka in hot water for controversial goal celebration


Photo courtesy of Action Images.

You’d figure players would learn by now not to celebrate goals with controversial gestures. But Nicolas Anelka became the latest professional to engulf himself in debate after celebrating his first of two goals against West Ham with a gesture described in his native France as a “Nazi salute in reverse.”

The gesture, as seen above, is dubbed 'la quenelle' and was made infamous by French comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, who faces a ban from performing in his country for a history of sending anti-Semitic jibes in his shows. Dieudonne has also repeatedly been fined for hate speech, but apparently he’s found a fan in Anelka.

In fact, here’s a picture of Anelka doing the pose with M’bala M’bala himself:

imageImage via 101GG

West Brom manager Stewart Downing said Anelka’s celebration was dedicated to Dieudonne, and that anything else read into the gesture "is absolute rubbish."

Anelka won’t likely get a pass for repeating a gesture that many believe to have anti-Semitic connotations, even if he didn’t realize that at the time.

Whether the FA will take action against Anelka seems only a formality at this point, and rightly so. The Frenchman, who scored his first goals of the season Saturday (and first in the English game in two and a half years) may, and should, have to wait a long time before getting a chance to add to his tally.