Romelu Lukaku has issued an apology for any offence caused after comments he made in defence of Nicolas Anelka's 'quenelle' celebration.
The West Brom forward is facing the possibility of a five-match ban for making the gesture after scoring in December's 3-3 draw with West Ham, with the salute said to carry racist and anti-Semitic connotations.
Anelka defended the salute by claiming it was anti-establishment not anti-Semitic and said he was paying tribute to comedian friend Dieudonne M'bala M'Bala.
Lukaku - who is on loan at Goodison Park from Chelsea - was reported to have told Sky Sports: "I don't think he should be banned, he was just supporting a comedian in France. We don't have to make such a big deal about it."
The 20-year-old has since sought to clarify his stance, and insists he was merely showing support for former Stamford Bridge team-mate Anelka and not endorsing the use of the gesture.
In a statement released by anti-racism group Kick It Out - for whom Lukaku is an ambassador - he said: "I want to make clear that I was supporting a friend and player I have admired since I was a child.
"I apologise if I caused any offence with my comments as this was never my intention. There has been a misunderstanding and I want to clarify that I was in no way endorsing the gesture made by Nicolas.
"I am proud to be a ‘Next 20’ ambassador for Kick It Out and will continue to inform young people of the harmful effects discrimination of any kind can have."
The organisation added: "Kick It Out has sought clarity from Romelu Lukaku on comments made to Sky Sports about Nicolas Anelka and the FA investigation into the 'quenelle' gesture.
"Romelu has clearly stated that he had no intention to support the gesture made by Anelka. The campaign continues to work with Romelu as a 'Next 20' ambassador and will look to guide him, in partnership with community organisations, on the sensitivity of issues covering all forms of discrimination moving forward."
|A-League Review: Garcia rescues point for Perth, Adelaide up to second|
|Poyet calls for mid-season break|
|Van Gaal rules out Januzaj move|
|Rodgers: Balotelli may have to get used to bench|
|Lallana: I was trying too hard|
|Pardew braced for Old Trafford test|
|Adriano announces Le Havre deal|
|Song to face ´brother from another mother´ Fabregas|
|Walker juggles music, football careers in Sweden|
|Lescott unfazed by City reunion|
|Tskhadadze appointed Georgia coach|
|United to finish top three - Ferdinand|
|Allardyce: Stamford Bridge stalemate saved my job|
|Southampton need three January signings, says Watson|
|Liverpool can make Champions League, says fanzine editor|
|Walsh: Hull clash crucial for Leicester|
|Toure, Aubameyang and Enyeama make shortlist for African gong|
|Docherty backs Chelsea to win two-horse race|
|Liverpool could benefit from Hyypia influence - Scales|
|Saudi Arabia name Asian Cup squad|
|Forty-year-old Cahill no problem for Postecoglou|
|Wenger criticism baffles Redknapp|
|Leicester must strengthen in window - Walsh|
|United not title contenders - Docherty|
|Koeman: Southampton youngsters will get a chance|
|Dyche empathises with Liverpool striker crisis|
|Cagliari turn to Zola|
|Rooney thanks Van Gaal for Christmas break|
|Cruzeiro offer Paulinho Tottenham exit chance|
|Carlisle´s wife grateful to Burnley|
|Katebe called up to Zambia AFCON squad|
|Cape Verde name AFCON squad|
|Finke names much-changed Cameroon squad|
|Grant omits World Cup troublemakers for AFCON|
|Blackpool striker Ranger goes AWOL|
|Allardyce relishing Mourinho meeting|
|Ashley fails to increase Rangers stake|
|Crystal Palace v Southampton: Koeman calls for focus|
|Warnock targeting striker in January|
|Chelsea v West Ham: Adrian vows visitors will attack|
|Heskey signs short-term deal at Bolton|
|Everton v Stoke City: Martinez eyes strong form|
|Juninho defends David Luiz|
|Burnley v Liverpool: Dyche defends Rodgers ahead of Turf Moor test|
|Arsenal v QPR: Wenger eyes festive momentum|
|Liverpool are growing in confidence, says Rodgers|
|Redknapp: Austin future could depend on survival|
|Martinez wants Everton consistency|
|Barca want Neymar until 2020, says agent|
|Jones undeterred by pressure of Liverpool starting role|
|Allardyce ´knows how to beat managers´ - Carroll|
|Jones playing for a new contract|
|China select Evergrande spine for Asian Cup|
|A-League Preview: Koren tips City to build|
|Khedira keen to fight for Real spot|