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MENAFN - Arab News - 22/01/2014
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(MENAFN -Arab News) LONDON: The Football Association charged Nicolas Anelka on Tuesday for making a “quenelle” salute after scoring for West Bromwich Albion against West Ham United in the Premier League last month

The gesture is widely regarded as being anti-Semitic and the FA charged the former France international under Rule E3 for “making an abusive and/or indecent and/or insulting and/or improper gesture.

“It is further alleged that this is an aggravated breach, as defined in FA Rule E3 in that it included a reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion or belief,” the FA said in a statement

Anelka, 34, who has denied he used it in any derogatory way, has until 1800 GMT on Thursday to respond to the charge, which carries a minimum five-game ban

West Brom said the player had received a 34-page document explaining the allegations against him

“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,” Albion said in a statement

Whether the FA find him guilty or not, the gesture has already had repercussions

Zoopla, a property market search engine co-owned by businessman Alex Chesterman, announced on Monday they would not be renewing their three million pounds (4.93 million) Albion shirt sponsorship at the end of the season because of Anelka’s actions

“Zoopla has been reviewing its position over the past few weeks in light of the actions of striker Nicolas Anelka during the match against West Ham over the Christmas period and has decided to focus its attention on other marketing activities after this season,” the company said

Dr. Moshe Kantor, the president of the European Jewish Congress, expressed satisfaction that Anelka had been charged

“We are happy that the FA has correctly concluded that Anelka’s quenelle salute falls under the guidelines of what constitutes a racist and offensive gesture,” Kantor said in a statement

“We hope that the FA will give Anelka the strongest punishment possible and in line with similar punishments for other football players who made racist and offensive gestures or comments

“The FA must send a very strong message that offenses made against the Jewish community should be treated in the same away as offenses against any other minority.” The striker celebrated the first of his two goals against West Ham in a 3-3 draw at Upton Park with the “quenelle,” made famous by French comedian Dieudonne M’Bala M’Bala as an anti-establishment salute

The comedian is a friend of Anelka’s

Bromwich hel

Spaniard Pepe Mel’s first match as manager of West Bromwich Albion ended in a 1-1 Premier League draw with Everton at the Hawthorns on Monday as the controversy engulfing Nicolas Anelka took a new twist

Diego Lugano’s first goal in English football, a powerful 75th minute header, earned West Brom a share of the spoils after visitors Everton, who would have gone into the Champions League places with a victory, had taken a first-half lead through Kevin Mirallas

The result saw West Brom move four points clear of the relegation zone and left Everton five in front of reigning champions Manchester United, managed by their former boss David Moyes

Mel, brought in to replace the sacked Steve Clarke, saw the hours before the match dominated by the latest development in the Anelka ‘quenelle’ gesture row.


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