Nicolas Anelka banned for five games for `anti-Semitic` salute in Dec match

Johannesburg, Feb 28: French striker Nicolas Anelka has reportedly been banned for five games and also fined for making the controversial ‘quenelle’ salute which was widely condemned as being ‘anti-Semitic’, while playing for West Bromwich Albion in a Premier League match away to West Ham United on December 28.

Although the Football Association cleared Anelka of being an anti-Semite, the West Brom player was however, found guilty of an ‘aggravated breach’ of FA rules for making the ‘quenelle’.

According to Sport24, Anelka was banned for five games, fined 80,000 pounds and was also ordered to complete a ‘compulsory education course’ although he has the right of appeal.

Meanwhile, West Brom stated that they would suspend Anelka ‘pending the conclusion of the FA’s disciplinary process and the club’s own internal investigation’, although it acknowledged that the FA panel did not find that Anelka is an anti-Semite or that he intended to express or promote anti-Semitism.

However, the club further stated that it could not ignore the offence that Anelka’s actions have caused, particularly to the Jewish community, nor the potential damage to the club’s reputation.

Anelka, who made the ‘quenelle’ after scoring the first of his two goals in a 3-3 draw at Upton Park, had always denied the gesture was anti-Semitic or that he himself was a racist.

The quenelle, described as an inverted Nazi salute, has been popularised by French comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, a friend of Anelka’s and who has been prosecuted in France for various racial offences, the report added. (ANI)