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Soccer-Zoopla ends West Brom deal after Anelka row

Source: Reuters - Mon, 20 Jan 2014 15:23 GMT
Author: Reuters
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LONDON, Jan 20 (Reuters) - Property website Zoopla is ending its sponsorship of English Premier League soccer club West Bromwich Albion following a row over an alleged anti-Semitic gesture made by striker Nicolas Anelka, the company said on Monday.

Frenchman Anelka made the gesture after scoring the first of his two goals in a 3-3 draw at West Ham on Dec. 28.

The quenelle, invented by French comedian Dieudonne, has drawn widespread condemnation in Anelka's homeland and from anti-racist and Jewish groups in England who have demanded the player be banned.

"Zoopla has been reviewing its position over the past few weeks in light of the actions of striker, Nicolas Anelka, during the match against West Ham over the Christmas period and has decided to focus its attention on other marketing activities after this season," the company said in a statement.

The decision followed reports that Zoopla, a property website company co-owned by Jewish businessman Alex Chesterman, was unhappy at the way the club had handled the issue.

The Football Association is yet to report back on its investigation into the matter and the club said in a statement on Dec. 30 that Anelka remained eligible for selection.

According to the Daily Mail, Zoopla had demanded that the company name was removed from Anelka's shirt for Monday's Premier League match against Everton.

Zoopla is part-owned by the Daily Mail & General Trust , the parent company of the newspaper.

Anelka, who has played in both West Brom's league matches since, promised not to repeat it but did not apologise for his actions.

The furore has overshadowed the match for which Spaniard Pepe Mel will be in charge of West Brom for the first time since being named as Steve Clarke's replacement.

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