By Chris Wright
Property search website Zoopla have announced that they are planning to pull the plug on their sponsorship deal with West Brom amid the controversy whipped up by Nicolas Anelka’s “quenelle” goal celebration against West Ham at the arse-end of December.
Anelka apparently deployed the quenelle gesture (described as an ‘inverted Nazi salute’ in some quarters) as a show of solidarity for his friend, comedian Dieudonne M’Bala, who is in the process of being prosecuted for anti-semitism by the French government – though M’Bala’s supporters claim that he is merely being pilloried by the French authorities for his aggressive anti-government material.
Either way, Zoopla have confirmed that they will terminate their deal as the Baggies’ principal shirt sponsor at the end of the season, with a statement from the company statement reading as follows:
“Zoopla has worked closely with the club and the local community throughout its two-season sponsorship, having committed over £100,000 to the Albion Foundation and other local charities, and will continue to meet its obligations for the rest of the current season.”
The FA are still deliberating whether or not (or to what lengths) to punish Anelka for his gesture, but it seems Zoopla have come to their decision over the furore and have pulled the plug before the situation becomes any more fractious – despite the Baggies being able to claim one of English football’s most prominent anti-racism/discrimination track records.
Excuse us for being cynical, but perhaps they are sensing a highly-publicised pull-out on morale grounds will be a bigger PR boon than actually sponsoring West Brom?