Nicolas Anelka performed the 'quenelle' TWICE during match against West Ham, but no one noticed
The FA have released their written reasons for banning the West Brom striker, revealing Anelka performed the offensive gesture a second time during the game
Thursday 06 March 2014
Nicolas Anelka made a second 'quenelle' gesture during the now notorious game between West Brom and West Ham United last December, it was revealed today.
The independent regulatory commission that investigated the case today released its written reasons for imposing a five-match ban on the French striker.
In the judgement it emerged that Anelka admitted making the controversial gesture a second time after scoring his second goal. The commission said "If others knew that, we had not been told and it forms no part of the FA's case against him."
The commission accepted that the 'quenelle' gesture is "strongly associated with anti-Semitism". However, the commission's written reasons state the three-man panel was not satisfied that Anelka intended to "express or promote anti-Semitism by his use of the quenelle" when he made the gesture.
One of the commission's expert witnesses, Professor Marliere, described Anelka as "a very silly man indeed". The Commission pointed out that "Though he was educated in France (where the Holocaust is part of the curriculum), he knew nothing of 'jewish stories', he said. He denied knowing that the quenelle was (as he put it) an anti-Semitic gesture."
The Commission's reasons also reveal that the Football Association had argued for a more severe sanction than the minimum five-match ban.
The commission said Anelka's quenelle "did contain a reference to anti-Semitism" in that it is strongly associated with his friend, the French comedian Dieudonne.
"We further concluded that Dieudonne is strongly associated with anti-Semitism and, as a result, we found that the quenelle is strongly associated with anti-Semitism," said the commission.
"We agreed with the FA that it is not possible to divorce that association from the gesture.
"When Nicolas Anelka performed the quenelle on the 28 December 2013, it had that association; it was strongly associated with and contained a reference to anti-Semitism."
It also compared the case with Luis Suarez's eight-match ban for racially abusing Patrice Evra, and pointed out the Liverpool striker did so on at least five occasions while Anelka's was a one-off action.
Suarez racially abusing Evra
John Terry's four-match ban for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand was also looked at by the commission.
It added: "[Suarez's eight-match suspension was imposed for conduct with five identified aggravating factors including the repeated use of the word "negro" or "negros". In our view that was clearly a more serious example of an 'Aggravated Breach' than the [Anelka] instant case.
"Similarly, when Terry was decided there was no mandatory entry point; He was suspended for four matches for insulting (once) an opponent."
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