Anelka defends 'quenelle' and asks for FA charges to be dropped

The West Brom forward maintains his stance that he never intended any anti-Semitic or racist connotations and looks set to contest the allegations made against him
West Brom striker Nicolas Anelka has once again defended his controversial 'quenelle' gesture and asked for the FA charges against him to be dropped.

The Frenchman was charged on Tuesday and has until January 23 to respond to the FA's allegation that his gesture “included a reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion or belief”.

Anelka, though, remains adamant that there were no anti-Semitic connotations to his goalscoring celebration against West Ham at the end of December, and has cited prominent Jewish leader Roger Cukierman in his defence.

Cukierman, president of the Representative Council of the Jewish Institutions of France (CRIF) and vice-president of the World Jewish Congress, had earlier described the action as a “gesture of rebellion” and labelled the FA charge as “severe”.

Anelka believes Cukierman's appraisal should be taken into consideration and "asks the English FA to kindly remove the charges alleged" against him, reiterating that he is "not anti-Semitic or racist".

The full Facebook statement reads: “The English Football Association has hired an expert to decide the meaning of my quenelle.

“It has concluded that my gesture was an anti-Semitic connotation, which led to my indictment by the FA.

“It would have been legitimate if this expert had been French, living in France, and have an accurate knowledge of my actions.

“What better expert than Mr. Cukierman, president of CRIF, which explains very clearly that my quenelle could not be regarded as anti-Semitic!

“He also explained precisely when and where the gesture could have such a connotation.

“I therefore ask the English FA to kindly remove the charges alleged against me. And I repeat, I am not anti-Semitic or racist.”