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SBW gets permission to cover bank logo

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 12/04/2017

Code-hopping star Sonny Bill Williams © Getty Images Code-hopping star Sonny Bill Williams The New Zealand Rugby Union has agreed to allow Sonny Bill Williams to continue covering up the logo of a major bank sponsor of his Super Rugby side the Blues.

Williams taped over the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) logo on his Blues jersey in his Super Rugby comeback on Saturday night, causing some to question whether he could face a misconduct charge.

But in a statement on Wednesday the NZRU said it had agreed to a request from Williams to cover the logo up permanently on the grounds of his Islamic faith.

He objects to wearing the logo because Islam forbids financial institutions charging interest and fees on loans.

"This is on the basis of Williams' conscientious objection to this category of sponsorship, which can only be lodged on the basis of genuine family, ethical or religious grounds," the NZRU said.

Williams says the decision is part of his growth as a person.

"As I learn more, and develop a deeper understanding of my faith I am no longer comfortable doing things I used to do," he said.

"So while a logo on a jersey might seem like a small thing to some people, it is important to me that I do the right thing with regards to my faith and hope that people respect that."

While the BNZ logo will be covered on Williams' jersey, he will still not be allowed to remove Investec from the tournament logo, as this is a compulsory logo on all New Zealand team jerseys in the tournament.

The NZRU said Williams has assured them his objection doesn't extend to AIG, the insurance firm that is the major sponsor for the All Blacks.

And they also deny the situation sets a precedent for other players to object to other sponsors.

"The conscientious objection clause has been in the NZR and NZRPA collective agreement for some time and any player is entitled to invoke it based on genuine grounds," the NZRU said.

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