In the cynical world of Premier League where everything seems to have a price, but very little has a value, it’s refreshing to see someone prepared to stand up and be counted for his beliefs.
Papiss Cisse Newcastle United’s striker has refused to wear the club’s new shirt, as it is sponsored by a money-lending company. The principle of benefiting from money lending is against Cisse’s devout Muslim’s beliefs, and hence he feels unable to promote the company by wearing the shirt. Unsurprisingly, the decision has not been met with universal acclaim by the club’s hierarchy, and compromise suggestions by the player to either wear an unbranded shirt, or one carrying the name of a charity have failed to mitigate the problem.
Cisse has now left the club’s training camp in Portugal and there must be question marks about his future at the club if the matter cannot be resolved. It’s reported that Newcastle’s other Muslim players Cheik Tiote and Moussa Sissoko are prepared to wear the shirt, but speculation is that Cisse will not be persuaded into changing his stance.
With the growth of commercial sponsorship across football generally, this may be the forerunner of other cases to come. Clubs however will need to have a mind as to whose money they are taking. In the moneyed world of Premier League football, principles are often kicked to the kerb in the face of wads of money, but inevitably lines will need to be drawn. It’s difficult to condemn a person for making a principled stand, and Cisse will doubtless draw admiration from a number of fellow Muslims.