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Anelka banned for five games over gesture

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West Bromwich Albion forward Nicolas Anelka
has been banned for five matches and fined 80 000
pounds ($133 400) for making an alleged anti-
Semitic gesture in a match in December,
theFootball Association said on Thursday.
The Frenchman, who made a “quenelle” salute after scoring in a 3-3
draw against West Ham United on December 28, has also been
ordered to complete a compulsory education course.
“An Independent Regulatory Commission has found an aggravated
breach of FA Rule E3 against Nicolas Anelkaproven and has issued
a five-match suspension and a fine of 80 000 pounds, pending appeal,”
the FA said in a statement.
The punishment is suspended until the outcome of any appeal or until
the player informs the FA of his decision not to appeal.
The FA found Anelka guilty of making a gesture that “was abusive
and/or indecent and/or insulting and/or improper.”
They also found it to be an “aggravated breach” in that it included “a
reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion or belief.”
The FA added in their statement, however, that they “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.”
Anelka had denied he was anti-Semitic or racist and claimed the
gesture, which has been described as an inverted Nazi salute, was a
tribute to his French comedian friend Dieudonne M’Bala M’Bala
who invented it.
Premier League West Brom are yet to comment on the punishment
but the gesture has already had repercussions for the club.
Zoopla, a property market search engine co-owned by Jewish
businessman Alex Chesterman, has said it would not renew its three
million pounds ($4.93 million) West Brom shirt sponsorship deal after
this season because of Anelka’s actions.

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