Nicolas Anelka 'quenelle' latest: West Brom striker to respond to FA charge today after suffering setback in anti-Semitic allegation defence

Anelka had hoped that a prominent member of the French Jewish community would speak on his defence but his 'quenelle' gesture has been labelled as 'clearly suspect' by Roger Cukierman

Nicolas Anelka must formally respond to the Football Association by 6pm on Thursday over its charge for his 'quenelle' goal celebration - but prospects of him citing a prominent member of the French Jewish community in his defence have suffered a setback.

West Brom striker Anelka is facing a minimum five-match ban unless he can prove his case, after being charged by the FA with performing an alleged anti-Semitic gesture after scoring against West Ham on December 28.

The striker is set to contest the charge - he insists he is neither anti-Semitic nor racist and believed he had the backing of a Jewish community leader in the battle to clear his name.

However Roger Cukierman, the president of CRIF (Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France), who initially appeared to have sided with the 34-year-old, later said he considered Anelka's behaviour "clearly suspect".

The quenelle has been described as an inverted Nazi salute and was created by French comedian Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala, who has been prosecuted for anti-Semitism. Anelka is a friend of Dieudonne's and the player has insisted his salute was a gesture aimed at the French establishment.

Cukierman said in a video interview with Le Figaro that the quenelle could not be regarded as anti-Semitic in the context it was performed in.

That prompted Anelka to write in a statement on his Facebook page: "I therefore ask the English FA to kindly remove the charge made against me. And I repeat, I am not anti-Semitic or racist."

In the video, Cukierman said the gesture only had anti-Semitic connotations if made in front of a synagogue or a memorial to the Holocaust.

He added: "When it's made in a place which is not specifically Jewish it seems to me that it's a slightly anarchic gesture of revolt against the establishment, which doesn't deserve severe sanctions."

But Cukierman clarified his position in a later interview, telling Paris-based radio station RMC: "The gesture conceived and realised by Dieudonne is anti-Semitic and the sympathy of Nicolas Anelka (for Dieudonne) is clearly suspect.

"I have no desire to be an expert in this matter."

The FA will appoint a three-man independent regulatory commission to hear the case.

Meanwhile, another two of West Brom's key sponsors, Jack Wolfskin and Holler watches, are considering withdrawing their backing from the club over the saga after primary shirt sponsor Zoopla, a property search engine, announced it would not be renewing its £3million contract at the end of the season.

 

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific