FA charge Anelka over 'quenelle' gesture

The former France striker faces at least five games on the sidelines under the governing body's new laws if he is found guilty of making an offensive gesture
West Brom forward Nicolas Anelka has been charged by the FA over his 'quenelle' goal celebration against West Ham on December 28.

FA Rules - Conduct
Anelka's potential punishments

A Regulatory Commission shall impose a suspension of...
at least five matches. The Regulatory Commission may increase this suspension depending on any additional aggravating factors present.
A Regulatory Commission may impose a financial penalty or any other sanction
that it considers appropriate...
whether or not it has imposed a suspension.
A Participant... will be subject to an education programme, the details of which will be provided to the Participant by The Association.
Anelka has until 18:00GMT on January 23 to respond to the charge, which the FA alleges relates 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".

West Brom released their own statement at midday on Tuesday, revealing that Anelka is "considering his options" after being presented with a 34-page document which explains the allegations against him.

The club intend to conclude their own internal investigation into the affair after the FA's discplinary procedure is finalised.

Links between the 'quenelle' gesture and anti-Semitism quickly arose following the match at Upton Park, with the French sports minister branding Anelka's actions "disgusting".

Anelka insisted on Twitter that he acted in tribute to his friend, Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, but Dieudonne, a comedian, has caused controversy in France for his political views and alleged anti-Semitic performances.

The former France striker appeared for the Baggies in the 1-1 draw against Everton on Monday evening, but could face a lengthy spell on the sidelines if found guilty by the FA.

The governing body this season introduced new rules to ensure anybody convicted of racist or religious discrimination is banned for at least five games.

Last May, Uefa ratified a bill which will ensure players or officials found guilty of such abuse in official European competition will receive a minimum 10-match ban.

General secretary Gianni Infantino called on individual associations at the time to "adopt the same or similar measures".

Kick It Out had criticised the FA for the time it had taken to respond over the incident, after it had released a statement on January 10 - nearly two weeks after the event - stating that another 10 days would be required to reach a decision.

West Brom sponsors Zoopla have already revealed that they do not plan to renew their deal with the Midlands club following their handling of the affair.