Former French international, ex-Chelsea, ex-Arsenal striker, Nicolas Anelka, could face a minimum five-match ban from the FA and a Police probe after producing a goal celebration branded ‘disgusting’ and ‘clearly anti-Semitic’ according to the ‘Daily Mail’.
The incident occurred on Saturday after Anelka scored his second goal for West-Bromwich Albion during their 3-3 draw with West Ham at Boleyn Ground, West Ham.
The West Bromwich Albion striker is set to become the first player sanctioned under rules brought in by English football’s governing body in May to combat racist behaviour.
The European Jewish Congress have called for police involvement and for Anelka to receive the same punishment that would be handed down for a Nazi salute.
On Sunday night the Metropolitan Police said it takes all allegations of hate crime seriously and will consider whether action is required.
The FA have launched an investigation into Anelka’s ‘quenelle’ gesture, used after scoring at West Ham during Saturday’s 3-3 draw, and are consulting anti-racism campaigners Kick It Out and Jewish community groups.
The new guidelines mean that Anelka, if found guilty, can receive at least five matches and it could be ‘significantly’
longer. No timescale has been placed on when a decision will be reached.
Anelka, 34, a practising Muslim, is said to be astonished at the controversy and tweeted that he was only giving a ‘special dedication’ to his comedian friend Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, who regularly uses the gesture on stage.
Dieudonne has convictions for spreading race hate, and last week interior minister Manuel Valls announced that ‘all legal means’ to ban Dieudonne from making public appearances were being considered, saying: ‘He attacks the memory of Holocaust victims in an obvious and unbearable way.’
The ‘Quenelle’, which means ‘scoop’ or ‘dumpling’ — touching a shoulder with one hand, keeping the other arm pointed downwards — is said to be an inverted Nazi salute. Dieudonne and his supporters claim it is merely an anti-Zionist, anti-establishment signal and the 47-year-old has threatened to sue those suggesting otherwise.
The gesture has gone viral on social media and two soldiers were sanctioned by the French army in September for performing it in uniform in front of a Paris synagogue.
Anelka took to Twitter again on Sunday night to insist that his gesture had no religious or anti-Semitic connection. He wrote: ‘Meaning of quenelle: anti-system. I do not know what the word religion has to do with this story!’