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The West Brom striker faces a five-match ban if found guilty of FA charges relating to his controversial goal celebration after scoring against West Ham in December

West Brom striker Nicolas Anelka will have a personal hearing over his controversial 'quenelle' celebration early next week.

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The former France international became embroiled in controversy when he made the salute after scoring in a 3-3 draw at West Ham in December, and was charged by the FA relating to an "abusive and/or indecent and/or insulting and/or improper" gesture, which "included a reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion or belief".

Anelka, who faces a five-match ban if found guilty, requested a personal hearing after denying he had acted in an "abusive or indecent or insulting or improper" manner.

The 34-year-old vehemently insisted that the sign - which is considered by some to have any anti-Semitic connotations - was to show his support for his comedian friend Dieudonne M'bala M'bala.

M'bala M'bala is credited with inventing the gesture, which is interpreted by some as an inverted Nazi salute.

M'bala M'bala leapt to Anelka's defence last month, describing the former Real Madrid man as a "prince" and "a brother in humanity".

West Brom's backing of the striker has led to sponsor Zoopla ending their association with the club, while anti-racism group Kick It Out have previously voiced their frustration at the length of time it took the FA to act on the issue.

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