Nicolas Anelka: West Brom striker's Premier League future in doubt after requesting a personal hearing over 'quenelle' gesture

The Frenchman faces a minimum five-match ban if he's found guilty

Nicolas Anelka's future in English football is on the line after the West Brom striker requested a personal hearing into his now infamous 'quenelle' salute.

Anelka faces the Football Association's disciplinary commission after deciding to contest a charge he made an abusive, indecent, insulting or improper gesture during Albion's game at West Ham on December 28.

The Frenchman faces a minimum five-match ban if found guilty as the FA further allege the offence to be an aggravated breach given the potential reference to ethnic origin, race, religion or belief.

A lengthy suspension, however, could force Anelka to quit the game in England altogether bearing in mind he only signed a one-year contract last summer with the Baggies, who have an additional year's option in their favour.

The 34-year-old's love-hate relationship with the English game is well documented as he has ruffled feathers at Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea.

From their perspective, if Anelka is punished, it is unlikely Albion would agree to take up the option given the furore he has caused, and bearing in mind he also turns 35 in March.

For the FA, the case is a minefield as it is mired in French politics and beliefs, resulting in them hiring an independent expert to assess the symbolism of the 'quenelle' before laying down the charge.

The man behind the salute, French comedian Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala, believes Anelka should be allowed to continue to perform the gesture as it signifies his liberation from slavery.

Dieudonne and Anelka have strongly denied the gesture has any anti-Semitic or racist connotations, and instead is effectively an 'up yours' to the French establishment.

Dieudonne, a friend of Anelka, told Sky News: "The 'quenelle' salute, it's simply a salute.

"At the beginning, an insult, a little like this. I'm not sure how you do it in England (placing his left hand on his right arm and then raising the latter with a clenched fist).

"In France it means simply a gesture against the system, and then after time it became a gesture of emancipation.

"Many Africans like me, descendants of slaves, it's for self-liberation."

Performing the 'quenelle' by placing an upturned left hand across his right bicep, Dieudonne added: "That means liberation from a system, and it's because of that Nicolas Anelka did it.

"It's a gesture against submission to a system, a gesture belonging to the descendants of slaves who say 'Stop. It's done. I'm done'.

"There's no hint of racism. Racism is a bad thing."

Dieudonne feels Anelka should not be facing the prospect of sanctions from the FA simply for displaying his beliefs.

"It's strange because if they (the FA) are independent, if they love football, they should be more interested in what's happening in the match," added Dieudonne.

"Anelka is a descendant of slaves and if he wants to remark on his history then he has a right to do so.

"We are very proud he does that, all of us, because Nicolas Anelka is hope."

 

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

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital
In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty