[Nicolas Anelka announced on Twitter that he was terminating his West Brom contract]
By Elham Asaad Buaras
Nicolas Anelka’s troubled West Brom Albion career ended in acrimony on March 14.
Anelka – who was recently given a five-match ban and an £80,000 fine by the FA for the quenelle gesture he made at Upton Park in December – announced on Twitter that he was terminating his playing contract, which had three and half months to run.
Albion had suspended the Frenchman on full pay in the wake of the FA’s verdict and were planning to complete their own investigation into the quenelle gesture. West Brom branded his tweet “as highly unprofessional”.
Three hours later West Brom wrote to Anelka giving the 35-year-old 14 days’ notice of termination as required under his contract. The club said Anelka had failed to apologise for “the impact and consequences of his [quenelle] gesture” or accept a substantial fine, which would have led to his suspension being lifted.
“Nicolas Anelka’s purported termination of his Premier League contract this evening via Social Media was invalid as this was not conducted under the correct legal process as required by his contract.
“The club considers the conduct of Nicolas Anelka on 28 December, coupled with his purported termination on Social Media, to be gross misconduct.”
Earlier Anelka wrote: “Following discussions between the club and me, proposals have been made that I rejoined the group under certain conditions that I cannot accept. Wishing to keep my integrity, so I decided to free myself and to terminate the contract linking me with West Bromwich Albion until 2014, and now.”
West Brom had suspended Anelka after he was banned for five matches by the Football Association and fined £80,000 for the quenelle gesture that he performed after scoring against West Ham United on December 28.
The club announced their decision following confirmation from the FA they found him guilty of making a gesture that was “abusive and/or indecent and/or insulting and/or improper, and that included a reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion or belief.”
Anelka said from the outset that the quenelle was in tribute to his friend comedic Dieudonné [M’Bala M’Bala] and maintained that the gesture he made at Upton Park was anti-establishment rather than anti-Semitic.
Dieudonné, however, is a hugely controversial figure. The man who brought the quenelle to prominence has been prosecuted by the French Government for insulting the memory of holocaust victims and holding anti-Semitic views. Earlier this month he was banned from entering the UK. Anelka, however, convinced the FA panel that, although he performed the quenelle, there was no anti-Semitic agenda.