French footballer, Nicolas Anelka has been suspended by his club, West Bromwich Albion after he received a five-match ban by the Football Association and fined £80,000 for the quenelle gesture that he performed after scoring against West Ham United in December.
The club announced their decision following confirmation from the FA that an independent regulatory commission had found Anelka guilty of making a gesture that was “abusive and/or indecent and/or insulting and/or improper, and that included a reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion or belief”.
The punishment was the most lenient that the FA could have imposed under their new anti-discrimination rules. The governing body, however, reported that the three-man panel “did not find that Nicolas Anelka is an antisemite or that he intended to express or promote antisemitism by his use of the quenelle”.
It remains to be seen whether Anelka will appeal against the punishment, which includes attending a compulsory education programme. The 34-year-old said from the outset that the quenelle was a “special dedication to my comedian friend Dieudonné [M’Bala M’Bala]” and maintained that the gesture he made at Upton Park on 28 December was anti-establishment rather than antisemitic.