Papiss Cisse pulls out of Newcastle United tour

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Papiss Cisse will not be travelling to Portugal with the rest of the Newcastle United squad over his continued row over the club sponsor.

The 28-year-old has refused to promote the money-lending website, informing club officials that the concept is in direct conflict with his Muslim beliefs. Although the forward and his representatives remain in talks with officials and the PFA, a compromise agreement is yet to be reached.

Cheick Tiote and Moussa Sissoko, Cisse's only other Muslim team-mates, have expressed no opposition to wearing the logo and have failed to move to support the Senegalese striker's statements, leaving the footballer and his representatives alone in their attempts to move the club.

The continued hostility has led to some question marks springing up over his future with the outfit, with sources describing inter-party relations as 'strained'.

Cisse has agreed to continue his training after international fixtures with Senegal have left him playing catch up, but has stressed that he is not willing to move on his position.

In June, PFA deputy chief executive Bobby Barnes made reference to the dispute in an interview with BBC Sport.

"We're all aware that clubs need to generate revenue and sometimes have to use a wide range of companies," he said. "However, if someone feels very, very strongly that it's not compatible with their beliefs, then some sort of solution should be found".

It is important that Newcastle resolve the situation quickly, not only for their public image, but also because Cisse is a player they will be reluctant to lose.

Since joining in January last year, he has scored 26 times in all competitions and has become a influential player in the squad. Furthermore, the sponsorship deal with Wonga, the high-interest pay-day lender, is thought to be worth around £8m a year.

Frederic Kanoute set something of a precedent in 2007 when Sevilla announced a betting company as official sponsor. Kanoute, like Cisse, a devout Muslim, covered the logo on his shirt and refused to take part in any promotional activities, but then made a dramatic U-turn after he was assured that wearing the shirt did not imply that he condoned gambling.


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