Nicolas Anelka gesture: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger claims 'nobody in France knows what the quenelle salute means'

Wenger says that only Anelka will know what he meant by the gesture but reveals his idea of celebrating a goal is to enjoy it with your teammates and not make a statement

Arsene Wenger believes only Nicolas Anelka can say whether he knew the full implications of his controversial 'quenelle' goal celebration.

The West Brom striker caused uproar with his gesture, which is claimed by some to be an inverted Nazi salute and to have anti-Semitic connotations. The Football Association is currently investigating.

Wenger, the Arsenal manager who first brought Anelka to English football, said the meaning of the gesture was not widely known even in France.

The Gunners boss does believe however that players should refrain from celebrating in any way which might "encourage hate".

Wenger told a news conference: "Personally I believe there is only one beautiful way to celebrate a goal and that is to share it with your partners. That should be for me the only way.

"The second thing is that nobody knows in France what it means. Some make it an anti-system movement, some make it an anti-Semitic movement. I think personally I don't know, I have never seen this movement.

"Do we make too much of it? Yes, because he is not (going) to do it again, he has said he will not do it again. Only he can answer (whether) he knew what it meant or not."

The 'quenelle' salute was brought to prominence in France by comedian Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala, who has been prosecuted for anti-Semitism.

Anelka has stated on Twitter it was nothing more than a "special dedication to his friend Dieudonne" but West Brom have conceded the gesture caused offence and he has agreed not to repeat it.

Wenger said if it was proved to be a "lack of respect" then Anelka could expect an FA charge.

He added: "If it is an offence and is recognised as an offence and a lack of respect, you want it to be punished, like every single thing.

"What is important is we respect each other and do not show (lack of respect), especially the sportsmen, who are very popular and watched all over the world. We do not want to encourage hate, we want to encourage understanding and respect."

Pictures have also emerged of two other French players, Samir Nasri and Mamadou Sakho, performing the gesture.

Nasri clarified his position, stressing it was his view that it should be portrayed as an anti-establishment gesture rather than anything more sinister.

He said on Twitter: "The pose in the picture i posted over 2 months ago symbolises being against the system. Its has absolutely nothing to do with being anti semitic or against jewish people. I apologise for causing any hurt to anyone who might have been mislead into thinking this means anything of that nature."

Liverpool defender Sakho said in November that he was tricked into performing the gesture.

He wrote on his Twitter account: "This photo was taken six months ago, I did not know the meaning of this gesture, I got trapped!"

On Monday, a Liverpool spokesperson told Press Association Sport: "Mamadou Sakho has explained that when posing for the photo, taken over six months ago, he had no knowledge of any meaning or significance attached to the gesture."

PA

VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
weird news... and film it, obviously
Arts & Entertainment
tv
News
Matthew Mcnulty and Jessica Brown Findlay in 'Jamaica Inn'
mediaHundreds complain over dialogue levels in period drama
News
peopleJay Z and Beyoncé to buy £5.5m London townhouse
Voices
voicesMoyes' tragedy is one the Deputy PM understands all too well, says Matthew Norman
Arts & Entertainment
Rocker of ages: Chuck Berry
musicWhy do musicians play into old age?
Arts & Entertainment
With Jo Joyner in 'Trying Again'
tvHe talks to Alice Jones on swapping politics for pillow talk
News
Jilly's jewels: gardener Alan Titchmarsh
peopleCountry Life magazine's list of 'gallant' public figures throws light on what it means to be a gentleman in the modern world
Sport
John Terry goes down injured in the 70th minute
sportAtletico Madrid 0 Chelsea 0: Blues can finish the job at Stamford Bridge, but injuries to Terry and Cech are a concern for Mourinho
Student
student
News
<b>Rebecca Adlington</b>
<br />This, the first British swimmer to win two
Olympic gold medals in 100 years, is the eversmiling
face of the athletes who will, we're
confident, make us all proud at London 2012
peopleRebecca Adlington on 'nose surgery'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Brits who migrate to Costa del Sol more unhappy than those who stay at home

It's not always fun in the sun: Moving abroad does not guarantee happiness

Brits who migrate to Costa del Sol more unhappy than those who stay at home
Migrants in Britain a decade on: They came, they worked, they stayed in Lincolnshire

Migrants in Britain a decade on

They came, they worked, they stayed in Lincolnshire
Chris Addison on swapping politics for pillow talk

Chris Addison on swapping politics for pillow talk

The 'Thick of It' favourite thinks the romcom is an 'awful genre'. So why is he happy with a starring role in Sky Living's new Lake District-set series 'Trying Again'?
Why musicians play into their old age

Why musicians play into their old age

Nick Hasted looks at how they are driven by a burning desire to keep on entertaining fans despite risking ridicule
How can you tell a gentleman?

How can you tell a gentleman?

A list of public figures with gallant attributes by Country Life magazine throws a fascinating light on what it means to be a gentleman in the modern world
Pet a porter: posh pet pampering

Pet a porter: posh pet pampering

The duo behind Asos and Achica have launched a new venture offering haute couture to help make furry companions fashionable
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: The mutiny that sent a ripple of fear through the Empire

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

The mutiny that sent a ripple of fear through the Empire
Hot stuff: 10 best kettles

Hot stuff: 10 best kettles

Celebrate St George’s Day with a nice cup of tea. Now you just need to get the water boiled
Sam Wallace: Why Giggs is perfect fit as Manchester United boss... in the longer term

Sam Wallace

Why Ryan Giggs is perfect fit as Manchester United boss... in the longer term
Renaud Lavillenie: The sky's the limit for this pole vaulter's ambitions

Renaud Lavillenie: The sky's the limit for this pole vaulter's ambitions

Having smashed Sergei Bubka's 21-year-old record, the French phenomenon tells Simon Turnbull he can go higher
Through the screen: British Pathé opens its archives

Through the screen

British Pathé opens its archives
The man behind the papier mâché mask

Frank Sidebottom

The man behind the papier mâché mask
Chris Marker: Mystic film-maker with a Midas touch

Mystic film-maker with a Midas touch

Chris Marker retrospective is a revelation
Boston runs again: Thousands take to the streets for marathon as city honours dead and injured of last year's bombing

Boston runs again

Thousands of runners take to the streets as city honours dead of last year
40 years of fostering and still holding the babies (and with no plans to retire)

40 years of fostering and holding the babies

In their seventies and still working as specialist foster parents