A photograph has emerged of Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse at a poker table in a casino as the row rumbles on over his refusal to appear for the club in a shirt bearing the logo of a pay-day loan company.
Cisse pulled out of Newcastle’s tour of Portugal last week after claiming that, as a Muslim, he could not wear Wonga-sponsored club merchandise as sharia law forbids followers from profiting through money-lending ("riba").
However, gambling ("maisir") is also described as a "grave sin" in the Qur’an.
A spokesman for Aspers casino in Newcastle confirmed that the striker is "an occasional visitor" to the establishment but did not say whether he had engaged in gambling. Even so, Newcastle city councillor Dipu Ahad, who had supported the player over his Wonga protest, feels his behaviour was unacceptable.
“I feel absolutely ashamed of what he’s done,” he told the BBC. “There’s not just me, there’s been other people who’ve been supporting him. What he’s done now, seeing him in the casino, even if he wasn’t gambling, I think this gives a wrong message.
“People will say: ‘Look, this is Islam — they can pick and choose whatever they want’, and Islam isn’t about picking and choosing.”
Cisse, who has offered to wear an unbranded shirt or one promoting a charity, has been linked with a move to Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala.