Five-match ban for Anelka

  • Last Updated: February 27 2014, 19:53 GMT

Nicolas Anelka has been banned for five games and fined £80,000 after being found guilty of aggravated misconduct.

Nicolas Anelka: Banned for five games
Nicolas Anelka: Banned for five games

An independent regulatory commission ruled the West Brom striker was guilty of breaching the Football Association's code of conduct when he celebrated a goal at West Ham in December by making the gesture.

And the panel upheld the FA's charge that his rule breach "included a reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion or belief."

Anelka has been ordered to attend an education programme and will miss games against Manchester United, Swansea, Hull, Cardiff and Norwich at a time when Albion are fighting relegation from the Premier League.

A five-match suspension is the minimum penalty for aggravated misconduct, and the 34-year-old has seven days to appeal once the commission's written reasons for the decision have been published.

The 'quenelle' gesture, popularised by a French comedian and friend of Anelka, has been linked with anti-Semitism by some French politicians.

But the commission made it clear it "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."

And Anelka has always maintained his actions were "anti-establishment" rather than motivated by race or religion.

West Brom have also suspended Anelka pending the conclusion of the Football Association's disciplinary process, and they issued a statement via their website:

"West Bromwich Albion notes that both charges were proven against Nicolas Anelka at an FA hearing in relation to a gesture he made during the 3-3 draw at West Ham on December 28.

"The Club cooperated fully with the FA's investigation and has allowed due process to take place without prejudicing the outcome of the player's hearing.

"Both the player and Club are now awaiting the written reasons for the panel's decision, upon the receipt of which the player will have seven days to decide whether to exercise his right of appeal.

"West Bromwich Albion treats very seriously any such allegation which includes any reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion and/or belief. Upon both charges being proven, the Club has suspended Nicolas Anelka pending the conclusion of the FA's disciplinary process and the Club's own internal investigation.

"The Club acknowledges that the FA panel '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'. However, the Club cannot ignore the offence that his actions have caused, particularly to the Jewish community, nor the potential damage to the Club's reputation.

"The Club will make no further comment until the FA's disciplinary process and its own internal investigation have been completed."


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