Anelka handed minimum ban for Quenelle gesture

Nicolas Anelka has received a five-game ban and an £80,000 fine, as well as being ordered to attend an awareness course on the message behind the Quenelle.

West Bromwich Albion striker Nicolas Anelka was given a five-game ban today, after The FA concluded an investigation into the 'Quenelle' gesture exhibited by Anelka in celebration of his goal against West Ham on December 28th 2013.

The Quenelle, referred to by many as an inverted Nazi salute, is a reported anti-Semitic gesture of considerable prominence in France, the homeland of Anelka.

The Football Association have ruled that whilst Anelka's gesture was racist, it was not anti-Semitic and Anelka himself is not an anti-Semite.

As a result, Anelka has received the minimum suspension for incidents of racism, with a five-game ban.

"The misconduct was an 'aggravated breach' in that it included a reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion or belief," the FA commission said.

"We did not find that Nicolas Anelka is an anti-Semite or that he intended to express or promote anti-Semitism by his use of the quenelle,'" the commission added.

They have advised Anelka that his ban will be accompanied by an £80,000 fine and a compulsory course to re-educate him on the origins and messages behind the gesture that he performed at the Boleyn Ground last December.

Anelka has seven days in which to reply to the judgement, with the opportunity of launching an appeal.

However, at current he stands to miss games with Sunderland, Manchester United, Swansea City, Hull City and Cardiff City as West Bromwich Albion continue to fight relegation with just eleven games of the season remaining.

Since joining the Baggies at the start of the season, Anelka has scored just twice in twelve Premier League appearances.

image: © Andrea Sartorati

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