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Papiss Cisse allegedly spotted gambling in a casino

As the row deepened over the sponsorship of Newcastle United by payday loans company Wonga, the player at the centre of the controversy Papiss Cissé has been allegedly spotted gambling in a casino. Pictures that seem to show the Senegalese striker laying his bets have surfaced on Twitter after he refused point blank to wear a club shirt that bore the company logo, due to usury or money lending being seen as contrary to the tenets of Islam.

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Wonga’s relationship with the spotlight has been decidedly uneasy of late, as the new Archbishop of Canterbury waded into the payday loans debate, announcing the Church of England’s intention to compete with them however and wherever possible. Wonga’s distinctive branding and publicity drive saw them become the prime example of such lenders, but they must have cracked a wry smile in the boardroom when it turned out the Church had actually invested in the company and some very public red facedness ensued.

Cissé being seemingly snapped in a casino has been taken in some quarters as undermining his argument against Wonga’s sponsorship, although in all fairness gambling is not the same thing as lending at astronomical interest. Nevertheless, one wonders if he hasn’t shot himself in the foot. Which of course wouldn’t be ideal for a footballer.

Cissé has now played his first game in the controversial Wonga shirt. Obviously there was no mention of being caught out at casinos in his change of heart, and he solemnly stated that he had in fact consulted Islamic scholars over his moral dilemma who had in turn given him the green light. And yet it makes you wonder – why on earth, with so much on the line would he risk being seen gambling during such a sensitive time when he could just have stayed at home and played to his heart’s content using a blackjack site.

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