Anelka to contest FA 'quenelle' charge

The former France striker rejects the governing body's assertion that his actions could be abusive, racist or anti-Semitic and has called for the case to be dropped
West Brom striker Nicolas Anelka has decided to contest an FA charge against his 'quenelle' gesture.

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, 34, faces a minimum five-game ban under the organisation's new rules but insists he is neither "a racist nor anti-Semitic" following accusations that his actions, performed against West Ham on December 28, were offensive.

The FA had charged the Frenchman on Monday, stating that he made 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".

It was alleged in the immediate aftermath of the game at Upton Park that the quenelle was a reversed Nazi salute, with the French sports minister branding Anelka's behaviour "disgusting".

However, an official West Brom statement on Thursday read: "West Bromwich Albion can confirm that Nicolas Anelka has denied an FA charge regarding the gesture he made after scoring his first goal against West Ham United on December 28.

"The striker has requested a personal hearing. The club will make no further comment until The FA’s disciplinary process has reached a conclusion."

On Wednesday, he posted a Facebook update denying that his actions were intended as such, and called on the governing body to drop their investigation.

Anelka used the testimony of Roger Cukierman, president of the Representative Council of the Jewish Institutions of France (CRIF) and vice-president of the World Jewish Congress, to state that his actions were anti-establishment, rather that anti-Semitic.

But Cukierman has sinced moved to clarify his comments and now insists that, "My statements in are no denial or renunciation on this subject, despite the interpretations that were made.

"However, I wished, perhaps too quickly, to demonstrate that it was important to show discernment, restraint, to avoid being drawn into a spiral that was difficult to control."

Anelka initially stated that he did the gesture in tribute to his friend, the comedian Dieudonne MBala Mbala. Dieudonne is a controversial figure in France and has been banned from performing in several cities due to his alleged far-right political views and anti-Semitic sketches.