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

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
An asteroid is set to pass so close to Earth it will be visible with binoculars
news
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
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

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project