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
Paul Scholes: Manchester United vs Liverpool - I don't understand why Brendan Rodgers was not more attacking against Basel
Jesus Christ plays for Chelsea - that's what one in five children thinks
Transfer Talk: Nemanja Vidic to return to Manchester United; Hazard to leave Chelsea; Sunderland want Radamel Falcao
Frank Warren column: Don't bet on Amir Khan landing pay day against Floyd Mayweather
Manchester United transfer news: Kevin Strootman move edges closer
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre