West Bromwich Albion striker Nicolas Anelka has been hit with a five game ban following an investigation into his ‘quenelle’ gesture, reports the Telegraph.
Anelka has been told to stay away from the club pending an internal enquiry, after receiving the minimum possible suspension for his ‘inverted Nazi salute’ goal celebration against West Ham on December 28.
The 34-year-old has been banned for five matches and given an £80,000 fine, despite the three man panel clearing him of any anti-Semetic intent.
The commission – which consisted of a QC, an FA official and a former player or manager – said the FA had proven Anelka’s conduct was considered “abusive and/or indecent and/or insulting and/or improper” and “included a reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion or belief”.
However, it added in a statement: “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.”
West Brom – whose shirt sponsor Zoopla decided not to renew its contract following the controversy – said:
“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.”