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West Brom played Anelka despite charge

31st Jan 2014

West Brom played Anelka despite charge

This ‘quenelle’ gesture could cost Nicolas Anelka a 5 match ban

Elham Asaad Buaras

West Brom played Nicolas Anelka on January 20 despite receiving the FA charge for his ‘quenelle’. On January 21 the FA confirmed that Anelka had been charged for it branded the ‘quenelle’ gesture “abusive and/or indecent and/or insulting and/or improper”.

The FA alleges it was “an aggravated breach in that it included a reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion or belief.”

Anelka, who was charged before the game, faces a minimum five-match ban under the new anti-racism laws, but is likely to be given a ban similar to Suarez’s eight games after the Liverpool striker was found guilty of using racially abusive language towards Man United’s Evra in 2011.

The FA have accused Anelka of making an insulting gesture which also referenced ethnicity over his performance of the ‘quenelle’, which is alleged to be a mark of anti-Semitism, after scoring for West Brom at West Ham on December 28.

Anelka has defended his gesture by claiming he was showing support for his comedian friend Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, and that the sign is anti-establishment.

Dieudonne, as he is known in France, has been fined for anti-Semitic remarks and had his shows cancelled for their content

Anti-discrimination group Kick It Out complained of the time-lapse between the incident and the charge, “The FA spent a longer time than desirable in order to give careful consideration to the allegations made in this case.”

But said it “awaits Anelka’s response to the charge before making any further comment.”

The media reported West Brom’s sponsors, Zoopla, pulled the plug on their £3million partnership with the club over the affair, however the club insisted they, “have been fully aware since the sponsorship agreement came into force in June 2012 that their partnership with Zoopla could expire this summer and therefore have been planning accordingly.”

Lawrence Hall, Zoopla’s head of communications, said: “Through our sponsorship of West Bromwich Albion, we are pleased to have supported the local community and charities. However, we have decided to re-evaluate this sponsorship.”

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