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

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 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."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created