Article

Anelka handed five-match ban

27 February 2014 18:04

Nicolas Anelka has been handed a five-match ban and £80,000 fine for his controversial 'quenelle' celebration.

The West Brom striker performed the salute after scoring in December's 3-3 draw at West Ham and was charged by the Football Association in last month.

Anelka denied the charge and defended the gesture by saying it was anti-establishment and a dedication to his friend and comedian Dieudonne M'bala M'bala, however the FA have taken a dim view of the incident.

M'bala M'bala is credited with inventing the gesture, which is also seen as an inverted Nazi salute which holds anti-Semitic connotations.

The comic was barred entry to the United Kingdom recently as he looked to visit the former France international and lend him support.

West Brom backed the striker following the incident, a decision that saw their main sponsor Zoopla opt not to extend their association with the club.

At the 34-year-old's personal hearing he was found guilty of an "aggravated breach of FA Rule E3" which relates to "ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion or belief", and as well as the suspension and fine he will be ordered to complete a compulsory education course.

Anelka has the right to appeal the decision within seven days and will remain available while any appeal is on-going.

A statement from the FA confirmed: "An Independent Regulatory Commission has found an aggravated breach of FA Rule E3 against Nicolas Anelka proven and has issued a five-match suspension and a fine of £80,000, pending appeal.

"The West Bromwich Albion player has also been ordered to complete a compulsory education course.

"The Independent Regulatory Commission will provide written reasons for its decision in due course.

"Mr Anelka has the right to appeal the decision. Mr Anelka must notify The FA of his intention to appeal within seven days of receipt of the written reasons.

"The penalty is suspended until after the outcome of any appeal, or the time for appealing expires, or Mr Anelka notifies The FA of his decision not to appeal."

The commission added that Anelka's actions were not anti-Semitic. The statement continued: "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."

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