Anelka fined and banned over salute
West Brom striker Nicolas Anelka has been suspended for five games and fined £80,000 following an investigation into his 'quenelle' gesture, the Football Association has announced.
The Frenchman performed the goal celebration after scoring in his club's match against West Ham on December 28.
Anelka denied the gesture had any anti-Semitic meaning and insisted it was a signal in support of his friend, the French comedian Dieudonne M'bala M'bala, the person who first brought the quenelle to prominence.
He and a legal team have mounted a defence this week at an independent regulatory commission's hearing at the Grove Hotel in Watford.
The independent regulatory commission said in a statement on the FA website that the two charges Anelka faced - that the gesture was abusive and/or indecent and/or insulting and/or improper, and that it included a reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion or belief - were both found proved.
The FA stated: "An independent regulatory commission has found an aggravated breach of FA rule E3 against Nicolas Anelka proven and has issued a five-match suspension and a fine of Â£80,000, pending appeal."
Importantly, the commission added that it was their finding that Anelka had not been deliberately anti-Semitic.
The commission statement said: "So far as the basis for our finding on Charge 2 is concerned, we 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."
The punishment is suspended pending a seven-day period in which Anelka may launch an appeal, unless he decides against appealing, the commission said.
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