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The Frenchman would have remained available while the possibility of an appeal is alive but the club, conscious of "the offence that his actions have caused", have dropped him

West Brom have suspended Nicolas Anelka after the Football Association announced its decision to ban the striker for five games for his 'quenelle' goal celebration.

The Frenchman would have remained available for selection during a potential appeal process but the club have elected to drop him pending the results of such an eventuality as well as their own internal investigation.

Anelka has defended his gesture by claiming that it was intended to be anti-establishment but, although the FA found that he had not intended the action, made during December's 3-3 draw at West Ham, to be anti-Semitic, the governing body ruled that it could have been interpreted as such and was worthy of punishment.

The five-match suspension meted down to the striker was the minimum sentence possible under anti-racism laws established by the FA prior to the current season, with the Baggies star also fined £80,000 and ordered to undergo an educational course.

"West Bromwich Albion treats very seriously any such allegation which includes any reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion and/or belief," reads part of a statement on the club's official website.

"Upon both charges being proven, the club has suspended Nicolas Anelka pending the conclusion of the FA's disciplinary process and the club's own internal investigation.

"The club acknowledges that the FA panel 'did not find that Nicolas Anelka is an anti-Semite or that he intended to express or promote anti-Semitism by his use of the quenelle'.

"However, the club cannot ignore the offence that his actions have caused, particularly to the Jewish community, nor the potential damage to the club's reputation."

Anelka was given seven days to decide whether or not to appeal the punishment.