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Mertesacker: I've never played in back 3

 By PA Sport

Zoopla to end West Brom sponsorship

Zoopla has said it will end its sponsorship of West Bromwich Albion in the wake of the controversy surrounding Nicolas Anelka's "quenelle" gesture.

Nicolas Anelka performs the
Nicolas Anelka performs the "quenelle" after scoring.

• 'WBA may lose Zoopla deal'

The property website has announced that it will not continue to back the Midlands club after the end of this season, when its contract will expire.

Jewish organisations say the "quenelle" is anti-Semitic, and Zoopla, co-owned by Jewish businessman Alex Chesterman, was unhappy at the continuing presence of Anelka in the team while his actions were investigated by the Football Association.

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

Lawrence Hall, the Zoopla head of communications, said: "Through our sponsorship of West Bromwich Albion we are pleased to have supported the local community and charities.

"In recent weeks, however, we have decided to re-evaluate this sponsorship."

Zoopla has sponsored the Baggies on a three million pound-a-year deal since 2012. That contract will now not be renewed.

Later on Monday, West Brom issued a statement on their official website which read: "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."

At the weekend, the company had said it wanted Anelka to be left out of the televised game against Everton at The Hawthorns on Monday night -- new head coach Pepe Mel’s debut.

And officials warned Baggies chiefs that it would want its name to be removed from the team's shirts if he played.

The FA has been investigating the issue for the last three weeks, and is expected to make a statement on its decision in the near future.

Anelka faces the prospect of a minimum five-match suspension for the gesture, which was brought to prominence by the French comedian Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala, who has been prosecuted for anti-Semitism. The salute has been described as “an inverted Nazi salute.”

The striker said he would not use the gesture again, but denied that it had any anti-Semitic connotations.

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.


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