Nicolas Anelka: Disciplinary hearing over alleged anti-Semitic 'quenelle' gesture scheduled for the end of February
Anelka has been charged by the FA with an aggravated offence although the personal hearing is not due to take place until the end of next month
Saturday 25 January 2014
Nicolas Anelka's disciplinary hearing over his alleged anti-Semitic gesture is unlikely to take place until the end of February, it has emerged.
The West Brom striker has been charged by the Football Association with an aggravated offence following his 'quenelle' goal celebration against West Ham on December 28.
The 34-year-old has denied the charge and requested a personal hearing, but that is not likely to be held for a month, according to sources close to the case.
The length of time the case has taken has already prompted criticism from anti-discrimination group Kick It Out, which has expressed its "frustration".
However, the Anelka case is comparable with the racist abuse charges that were brought against Liverpool's Luis Suarez and Chelsea's John Terry, and in both of those cases there was a space of several weeks between the players denying the charge and the hearing taking place.
That is expected to be a similar scenario with French striker Anelka, who was this week presented with a 34-page document outlining the details of the charge.
The FA will appoint a three-person independent regulatory commission to hear the case, and as it has taken more than three weeks to bring the charge, Anelka's legal team will be permitted a similar length of time to construct his defence.
A further week to allow for administrative details to be organised, plus legal arguments between both sides' barristers, means that the end of February looks the likely time-scale for the hearing to start.
On Wednesday, Anelka asked the FA to drop the charge, stating he was "neither anti-Semitic, nor racist".
The former Arsenal, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Liverpool forward faces a minimum five-match ban if the charge is proved, and probably longer.
West Brom have asked Anelka not to repeat the celebration but will continue to select him for the team.
Anelka made the gesture, described by some as an inverted Nazi salute, after scoring in the 3-3 draw at Upton Park.
Afterwards, France's sports minister Valerie Fourneyron branded the salute as "disgusting."
The player however has insisted it was purely as a show of support for the creator of the quenelle, his friend the controversial French comedian Dieudonne M'bala M'bala who has been prosecuted for anti-Semitism.
Anelka has said the salute was "anti-establishment", rather than anti-Semitic.
Latest in Sport
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions
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?
Sir Alex Ferguson reveals who he thinks is better between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi
- 2 Why this father didn’t hide his daughter’s heroin overdose in her obituary
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 The most powerful passports in the world
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
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
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove