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Zoopla to end sponsorship after Anelka "quenelle" gesture

ESPN staff
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Nicolas Anelka made the gesture during the West Ham game © Getty Images
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Zoopla has confirmed it will end its sponsorship agreement with West Bromwich Albion at the end of the current season in light of the Nicolas Anelka "quenelle" controversy.

The property website has been involved in a £3 million-a-year deal since 2012 and the contract is due to expire this summer - but the company will not be renewing the association with the Premier League club.

Zoopla has been reviewing its position over the past few weeks in light of the actions of Anelka, who made the gesture, which is considered to have antisemitic connotations, during a recent game against West Ham United.

It was reported last week that the company, co-owned by Jewish businessman Alex Chesterman, wanted Anelka left out of this evening's Premier League meeting with Everton, the debut game for new head coach Pepe Mel.

Now they have confirmed they will look to focus attention on other marketing activites beyond the end of the current deal, which expires in June.

In a statement it said: "Zoopla has worked closely with the club and the local community throughout its two-season sponsorship, having committed over £100,000 to the Albion Foundation and other local charities and will continue to meet its obligations for the rest of the current season."

The FA has been investigating the issue for the last three weeks and has been working with an "appointed expert" as part of its investigation.

The un-named expert has been appointed by its governance division to provide detailed knowledge and opinion about the gesture and it is expected a decision will be made public after this evening's game.

Anelka could be given a six-match suspension for the gesture which was brought to prominence by the French comedian Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala and which has been described by opponents as an inverted Nazi salute.

Dieudonne, who has been prosecuted by the French government for insulting the memory of Holocaust victims and holding antisemitic views, was recently banned from performing in Nantes.

Anelka has agreed not to perform the celebration again after West Brom conceded the gesture had caused offence but the French striker has denied the salute had any antisemitic connotations.

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