By Elham Asaad Buaras
Papiss Cisse may leave Newcastle United over a dispute about the club’s new payday loan company sponsors.
The Muslim striker was left out of the club’s pre-season trip to Portugal because of his refusal to wear Wonga-branded training gear, as well as the match day shirt, Cisse began training on his own in private at Newcastle’s Benton training ground in non Wonga branded kit.
Former West Ham striker Frédéric Oumar Kanouté – also a Muslim – was allowed by Sevilla to wear an unbranded shirt while they were sponsored by gambling company 888.com.
The Wonga deal provoked anger with some fans who were unhappy with the club being sponsored by a company which charges up to 5,853 % annual interest on short term loans.
According to media reports the club rejected the Senegalese striker’s offer to wear charity kit instead.
The row has remained unsolved from number of weeks leading to speculation that Cisse may leave Newcastle.
Cisse, who did wear the Northern Rock and Virgin Money logos, made club chiefs aware he was uncomfortable wearing the new Wonga shirts when the controversial deal was announced at the end of last season, although other Muslim players at the club, including Hatem Ben Arfa, Moussa Sissoko and Ismaël Tioté have not taken his stance.
The player and club have been involved in lengthy negotiations, even calling in the footballer’s union the Professional Footballers Association (PFA), to resolve the situation.
Cisse joined Newcastle in a £9million deal from Freiburg in January last year and he was an immediate success in the coveted Newcastle No 9 shirt, scoring 13 goals in 14 games.