FA may try to increase Nicolas Anelka’s five-match ban for his 'quenelle' gesture, says Greg Dyke

 

The Football Association chairman, Greg Dyke, said the governing body had not ruled out an appeal against the leniency of Nicolas Anelka’s five-match ban for his “quenelle” gesture.

FA officials will tomorrow get to see for the first time the reasons given by the independent regulatory commission for sanctioning Anelka.

Although Anelka’s gesture, which has been called an inverted Nazi salute, was widely condemned, especially in his homeland, the commission accepted the 34-year-old French striker did not intend to be anti-Semitic during his goal celebration for West Bromwich at Upton Park last December.

New rules brought in by the FA call for racial or discriminatory offences to carry a minimum five-match ban, and Dyke said the governing body would need to look carefully at whether Anelka’s punishment was reasonable.

“We are all waiting until Monday to see what the judgement was,” said Dyke. “It is a strange situation where the decision is announced yet we don’t know the reasoning. Any appeal will be decided by others on Monday, not by me. It is a possibility.

“We will look at the whole thing again once this one has been done. This was not an easy case, because for most people in England that sign meant nothing. It’s only what it meant in France that became important, so I we will look at the judgement and will ask people ‘do we think that’s fair or that we should change anything as a result of that’.”

Dyke said, however, that the judgement sent out a strong message to other players. “It makes it clear that the FA is not prepared to tolerate things that could be of a racist nature but we have to see what the decision was.”

Dyke said last night that his blueprint for improving the fortunes of the national team will have real bite, with proposals for youth development and the possibility of a winter break.

With England facing Denmark at Wembley on Wednesday in the first of their four final warm-up games before leaving for Brazil, Dyke conceded, however, that the recommendations from his 10-man team, commissioned last October, would probably not be known until after the World Cup. But, he stressed, this was not at the specific request of manager Roy Hodgson, as has been reported.

“The recommendations we are likely to come up with are likely to be more radical than I would have thought than when we started a few months ago,” said Dyke. “You wouldn’t want to bring out a report in the middle of the World Cup or the week before it starts. It’s about the timing but it’s not on the backburner, Roy has not laid down the law and we are certainly not going to take a conservative approach as has been suggested. If you ask me to bet, probably not before the World Cup but if we have finished the work, we’ll publish it.”

Homegrown quotas have been all but ruled out for legal reasons and Dyke said the introduction of a winter break had also been discussed but not in great depth.

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