Anelka handed five-game ban for 'Quenelle' gesture

The French striker has been banned for five games after he made the controversial gesture in December.
West Brom striker Nicolas Anelka has been given a five-game ban by the Football Association for his 'Quenelle' goal celebration.

The former France international has also been fined 80,000 pounds for the gesture and has been ordered to complete a compulsory education course.

Anelka has seven days to notify the FA should he wish to appeal against the decision.

In a statement published on its official website, the FA summarized that Anelka "made a gesture (known as the 'quenelle') which was abusive and/or indecent and/or insulting and/or improper, contrary to FA Rule E3(1); and [...] that the misconduct was an "aggravated breach", as defined by FA Rule E3(2), in that it included a reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion or belief".

"We 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," the report stressed.

The incident occurred when the Baggies striker scored against West Ham in a 3-3 draw December 28.

Anelka argued that the gesture, which is claimed to have anti-Semitic connotations in France, was made purely in support of a controversial comedian with whom he is friends.