A picture has emerged apparently showing Muslim footballer Papiss Cisse at a casino table. It comes as the Newcastle striker is at loggerheads with the club over their decision to replace old sponsor Virgin Money with pay-day loan company Wonga.
Cisse, who is one of a number of Muslim players at Newcastle, has told the hierarchy at the club that he is unwilling to wear the shirt as it conflicts with his religious beliefs.
But an image has emerged on Twitter that claims to show the Senegalese forward gambling in a casino. As well as the lending of money, gambling is not permissible in Islam.
A man who claims to have taken the photograph at a blackjack table in Aspers casino said the striker spoke about upcoming Newcastle games as he 'was just placing small bets, £10 (N2,482) or £20 (N4,964) with £5 (N1,241) chips. A number of fans have said that they have seen him in there. You have to say it does undermine his stance on Wonga,' the eyewitness added.
It comes as the Muslim footballer may be forced to quit Newcastle United because of a row about the club's new sponsorship deal with payday loan firm.
The Senegalese striker, who is estimated to earn in the region of £40,000 (N9,928,326) a week, trained on his own on his return from his summer break last week after refusing to wear the branded training kit, as well as the match day shirt, because it is against his religious beliefs.
Under some interpretations of Sharia law, Muslims must not benefit from lending money. Interest is not paid on Islamic bank accounts or added to mortgages.
Cisse has offered to wear charity-branded kit to resolve the dispute but that proposal has so far been rejected. The row has now been rumbling on for a number of weeks leading to speculation that Cisse may even be forced to quit the club.
Cisse, who did wear the Northern Rock and Virgin Money logos, made club chiefs aware he was uncomfortable wearing the new Wonga shirts when the controversial deal was announced at the end of last season, although other Muslim players at the club, including Hatem Ben Arfa, have not taken his stance.
On Tuesday night, after their opening pre-season win over Motherwell in Scotland, manager Alan Pardew announced he was taking his full squad to Portugal, including Cisse. But the striker was not on the flight which left Newcastle airport this afternoon and his absence has increased speculation that he could be forced to quit St James's Park.
Cisse joined Newcastle in a £9million deal from Freiburg in January last year and he was an immediate success in the coveted Newcastle No 9 shirt, scoring 13 goals in 14 games.