Nicolas Anelka: West Brom striker to 'consider his options' after being charged by FA over 'quenelle' gesture

The Frenchman has until Thursday to respond

West Brom insist striker Nicolas Anelka will remain available for selection while he considers his options after being charged by the Football Association over his controversial 'quenelle' goal celebration.

The Frenchman has until Thursday to respond to the charge for the gesture, which some say is an inverted Nazi salute and has anti-Semitic connotations.

Anelka has been charged with making an improper gesture and that it was an aggravated breach, in that it included "a reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion or belief."

Under new FA rules, such aggravated offences carry a minimum five-match ban and possibly a longer suspension.

In a statement West Brom said there would be no action from them until the FA had concluded their disciplinary process.

"West Bromwich Albion has noted The FA's charge against Nicolas Anelka regarding the gesture he made after scoring his first goal against West Ham United on December 28," said the club.

"Anelka has received a 34-page document explaining the allegations against him and informing him that he has until 6pm on Thursday to respond. The player is now considering his options.

"Under FA rules, Anelka remains available for first-team selection until The FA's disciplinary process has reached its conclusion. Following this, the club will conclude its own internal enquiry."

The FA said in a statement: "The FA has charged the West Bromwich Albion player Nicolas Anelka following an incident that occurred during the West Ham United versus West Bromwich Albion fixture at the Boleyn Ground on 28 December 2013.

"It is alleged that, in the 40th minute of the fixture, Anelka made a gesture which was abusive and/or indecent and/or insulting and/or improper, contrary to FA Rule E3[1].

"It is further alleged that this is an aggravated breach, as defined in FA Rule E3[2], in that it included a reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion or belief."

West Brom's shirt sponsor Zoopla, an online property search engine which is co-owned by Jewish businessman Alex Chesterton, said on Monday it would not be renewing its deal at the end of the season because of the incident.

Anelka has denied the goal celebration was intended to be anti-Semitic and has agreed not to perform the salute again after the club accepted it had caused some offence, but there has been no apology from the player.

He has insisted however that the quenelle was anti-establishment, and a gesture in support of his friend, the controversial French comedian Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala, who has been prosecuted for anti-Semitism and who created the salute.

The FA brought in an academic expert to help decide on whether charges should be brought and has spent several weeks working on the case due to its sensitivity.

A three-man independent regulatory commission will now be appointed to deal with the case - either to decide on the sanction if Anelka admits the charge or to hold a disciplinary hearing if he denies it.

Vice-president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews Jonathan Arkush insisted Anelka should be banned for longer than five matches if the FA wanted to send out a significant message.

"The decision to charge the player was obviously the correct one," Arkush, a leading barrister and chair of the Board's defence division responsible for addressing anti-Semitism, told Press Association Sport.

"The FA is taking it seriously and the Board looks to the FA to follow it through.

"The Board itself believe any incident on or off the pitch which has racial connotations should be addressed with zero tolerance.

"I know under the rules that on a first-time offence there is a minimum five-game suspension but I think what he did was sufficiently serious to justify a longer suspension than five matches."

Arkush also criticised Anelka's lack of contrition following the outcry over his gesture.

"He has simply said he wouldn't do it again and that is not good enough," he added.

"He has not indicated one bit of remorse or regret or apologised for his actions."

Football's anti-discrimination group Kick It Out, which has expressed frustration over the length of time taken to decide on the case, called for a swift conclusion.

A statement said: "Kick It Out notes the Football Association's announcement to bring a charge to West Bromwich Albion striker Nicolas Anelka.

"The FA has previously demonstrated its commitment to taking effective and swift action to deal with all forms of abusive conduct in football, and has spent a longer time than desirable in order to give careful consideration to the allegations made in this case.

"Kick It Out awaits Anelka's response to the charge before making any further comment. The campaign hopes that this matter can now be quickly concluded."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
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

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee