UK & World News
Zoopla Ends West Brom Deal Over Anelka Salute
Zoopla has said it will end its lucrative shirt deal with West Bromwich Albion at the end of the season following Nicolas Anelka's controversial 'quenelle' gesture.
The striker performed the gesture during a goal celebration in the Premier League side's game against West Ham United on December 28.
A statement from the company said the deal would not be renewed when it finishes at the end of this season.
The sponsorship, which began in 2012, was worth £3m. Zoopla was co-founded by American Jewish businessman Alex Chesterman.
Anelka said the gesture was in support of the comedian who invented it, Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala - who called it the quenelle, or dumpling - but promised not to repeat it following the headlines it generated.
Dieudonne, a highly controversial figure, has been banned from performing in France because his act, and the gesture, are considered anti-Semitic.
He claims it is an anti-establishment gesture, but it has been widely interpreted as a Nazi salute in reverse.
Fans have photographed themselves performing the 'quenelle' outside the Auschwitz concentration camp and Holocaust memorials.
Anelka, 34, is set to find out soon if he will be charged by the Football Association for the celebration.
If he is, the Frenchman could face a ban of at least five matches.
Anelka played in West Brom's 1-1 draw against Everton on Monday evening.
There were reports before the home match that Zoopla had asked for†Anelka†to play in an unbranded shirt, although this was not confirmed by the company.
In a statement, the football club said: "West Bromwich Albion has been fully aware since the sponsorship agreement came into force in June 2012 that its partnership with Zoopla could expire this summer and therefore has been planning accordingly.
"Zoopla has today informed the club in writing that it does not wish to extend its sponsorship deal.
"The club will now actively seek a new official sponsor for next season."
Jamie Singer, a partner in Onside Law, told Sky's Jeff Randall: "This is exactly the sort of problem that sponsors face when they sponsor a team.
"It's much easier when they are sponsoring an individual, you have a direct relationship, you can control that individual a lot more easily, and you can generally terminate the contract with that individual if your reputation has been damaged by what they do.
"With a club it's much harder because your relationship is with the club, with West Brom in this situation, and West Brom may claim that they haven't done anything wrong, there may not even be a reputation clause in the contract, and so the sponsor has no recourse whatsoever."
:: Watch Sky News live on television, on Sky channel 501, Virgin Media channel 602, Freeview channel 82 and Freesat channel 202.