Everton distance themselves after Romelu Lukaku appears to defend Nicolas Anelka 'quenelle' gesture
The on-loan Chelsea striker appeared to suggest the furore had been blown out of proportion in a video on Everton's website
Tuesday 21 January 2014
Everton have distanced themselves from on-loan striker Romelu Lukaku's defence of Nicolas Anelka over his controversial 'quenelle' gesture.
The Belgium forward featured in a video interview posted on the Toffees' website in which he said there did not have to be "such a big deal" made about the West Brom player's actions.
However, with comment growing on social media, Everton removed the footage when they became aware there was an issue.
"It is the player's opinion and not the opinion held by the football club," Everton's director of communications Alan Myers told Press Association Sport.
"We moved quickly to remove any interview that may have been offensive to anyone.
"The last thing we want to do is cause offence to anyone."
Press Association Sport understands, due to the way the website is managed in collaboration with external partners, the interview from the post-match mixed zone after Everton's 1-1 draw at West Brom was conducted by another media organisation and uploaded without anyone at the club initially being fully aware of its content.
Everton have yet to speak to Lukaku, who is an ambassador for football's anti-discrimination group Kick It Out, about what he said but it is believed the striker's relatively young age - he is 20 - and friendship with Anelka will be taken into consideration.
There is no suggestion the striker will be disciplined as a result of his comments.
West Brom striker Nicolas Anelka makes an alleged anti-Semitic gesture when celebrating his first goal against West Ham
On Tuesday Anelka was charged by the Football Association with making an improper gesture and that it was an aggravated breach, in that it included "a reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion or belief".
Under new FA rules, such aggravated offences carry a minimum five-match ban and possibly a longer suspension.
Speaking after Monday's game and before Anelka was charged, Lukaku - who knows the Frenchman from their time together at Chelsea - said in the interview posted on evertontv: "He was my idol as a kid and he still is.
"I don't think he should be banned for that, he was just supporting a comedian in France. We don't have to make such a big deal about it.
"I hope he doesn't get suspended because he is a player people want to play on the pitch."
Latest in Sport
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: The biggest fight of all time, or maybe just the most lucrative?
What time does Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao start?
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: What time does it start and where can I watch it?
Chelsea transfer news: 'Eden Hazard will cost Real Madrid £100m - and a Galactico,' says Jose Mourinho
Sir Alex Ferguson reveals who he thinks is better between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi
- 1 Student jailed for hacking University of Birmingham computers to improve his grades
- 2 Smartphones are making children borderline autistic, says psychiatrist
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
- 5 The most powerful passports in the world
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
Rupert Murdoch berated Sun journalists for not doing enough to attack Ed Miliband and stop him winning the general election
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove