Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Kettering Town shirt sponsor in Hamas row

It's been a bad day for Northamptonshire football clubs.

Yesterday afternoon Desborough Town's ground burnt down. According to the Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph, "Police shut off Braybrooke Road and Harborough Road as fire crews worked to put out the blaze." Certainly, it was the only subject of conversation when I bought a coffee on Market Harborough railway station this morning.

Now Mr Eugenides points us to a report from the Daily Telegraph:

Kettering Town chairman Imraan Ladak is to return a business award given to him by Lloyds TSB after the bank terminated the banking facilities of the non-League club's shirt sponsors, Interpal, a charitable organisation who distribute aid in the Palestinian territories.

Interpal have been told they must find alternative banking in January after Lloyds reportedly instructed the Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB) to close the charity's account. Interpal have been given no explanation, although it is believed that their background – they are under investigation by the UK Charity Commission for "indirect" links to the Palestinian militant organisation Hamas – is at the root of the matter.

The Interpal website see things very differently.

Kettering Town have lately been eclipsed by the rise and fall of neighbouring Rushden and Diamonds, but in the 1990s they regularly threatened to gain promotion to the Football League. They had a habit of leading the Conference by several points at Christmas, only to fall apart in the new year.

More recently they have been involved with, er, colourful characters like Paul Gascoigne and Ron Atkinson.

I have to correct Mr Eugenides on one point of Northamptonshire geography, however. He writes:
one may reasonably ask what the hell Interpal ... are doing sponsoring Kettering Town anyway; granted, Kettering town centre may look like the fucking Gaza strip...
No, that's Corby.

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