Nicolas Anelka could face a ban for five matches with the Football Association after his controversial gesture in the thrilling 3-3 draw with West ham. His celebration resembled a ‘quenelle salute’ and that has offended many in the football fraternity. He scored twice at Upton Park, but the celebration overshadowed his performance in the match.
The salute was made popular by a comedian in France. He is also a close friend of Anelka and has been linked to anti-Semitism. Many believe that it closely resembles ‘the Nazi salute in reverse’.
Anelka, however insists that his actions should not be looked at in depth. He was simply offering support to his friend.
This gesture was just a special dedication to my comedian friend Dieudonné
— nicolas anelka (@anelkaofficiel) December 28, 2013
However, the FA is likely to have a different perspective to the celebration and he might be facing a lengthy ban if he was found guilty on the grounds of racial abuse. The rules have been made stricter last May, after repeated unsporting incidents on the football pitch.
Any player found guilty under racist and homophobic abuse would receive a 5-match ban and a 10- match ban for their first and second offence respectively. All the players found guilty need to attend rehabilitation programs.
After high profile cases involving Luis Suarez, Evra and John Terry, the new rules have been added.
Keith Downing, West Brom coach feels that the allegations were ‘absolute rubbish’.