|(Football) Anelka prepares salute defense after charges
West Bromwich Albion striker Nicolas Anelka was charged by the English Football Association yesterday for performing a gesture considered to be anti-Semitic while celebrating a goal.
The former France international has until Thursday to respond to the charge, and is facing a minimum five-game Premier League ban under the FA's anti-discrimination sanctions.
West Brom said Anelka is now “considering his options,'' adding that its internal inquiry will conclude when the FA process is over.
Anelka's Twitter account later linked to an online video from a French Jewish leader who questioned the FA's decision to take action.
“It looks a bit severe to me,'' Roger Cukierman, President of the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions, said.
It “would be reprehensible only in the case where the gesture was made in front of a synagogue or a Holocaust memorial. When it is made in a place that has no Jewish specificity, it seems to me that it is a gesture of rebellion, a little anarchist, against the establishment. And that, it seems to me, doesn't deserve a severe sanction.''
The gesture, which is known in France as a “quenelle'' and has been described as an “inverted Nazi salute,'' involves pointing one straightened arm downward while touching the shoulder with the opposite hand.—AP