Cheick Tiote is set to meet the club this week to ask them not to use promotional shots of him wearing their new branded kit.
Striker Papiss Cisse has already expressed his disquiet about the Wonga partnership but he and fellow Muslim players Tiote, Massaido Haidara, Hatem Ben Arfa and Moussa Sissoko did pose in the new strip emblazoned with the wonga.com logo in a photo session for the first-team squad in April to promote the company.Cisse and Tiote were not aware at the time of the nature of Wonga’s business and feel aggrieved the club did not inform them.
Muslims are prevented from benefiting from the lending of money under Sharia Law.
Newcastle have released pictures only of Steven Taylor wearing the new Wonga strip — but those of other first-team players could be rolled out soon.
Newcastle announced a four-year deal worth an estimated £24million with Wonga last October and the team will carry their name next season.Tiote spoke with his legal representatives last week and is keen to meet Newcastle chief executive Derek Llambias.Cisse, signed from Freiburg in Germany for £8m in 2011, may be sold if he does not agree to wear the Wonga strip.
While aware of the delicate nature of the issue, owner Mike Ashley is reluctant to weaken the image of their partnership with Wonga by having players wearing unbranded tops.
Players’ union, the PFA, have vowed to back Cisse if he refuses to wear the Wonga logo, with deputy chief Bobby Barnes saying: ‘If someone feels very strongly that it’s not compatible with their beliefs, then some sort of solution should be found.’
There have been reports of Cisse being racially abused on Facebook since his stance was made public. Wonga specialise in short-term loans and charge an annual interest rate of 4,214 per cent.
When the deal with Newcastle was announced, city council leader Nick Forbes and Chi Onwurah, MP for Newcastle Central, both described Wonga as ‘legal loan sharks’.
Source: Newcastle United Mad