West Brom suspend Anelka

After striker is banned for FIVE matches and fined £80,000 for making ‘quenelle’ gesture… but FA insist it WASN’T anti-semitic

West Brom have suspended Nicolas Anelka after the Frenchman was banned for five matches by the FA for his controversial ‘quenelle’ gesture.

Anelka has also been fined £80,000 by the FA and must pay the full cost of the hearing.

The striker, who has the right to appeal, has been found guilty by an independent FA panel for making a gesture that was ‘abusive and/or indecent and/or insulting and/or improper’ after scoring against West Ham on December 28.

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 £80,000, pending appeal.’

Banned: Nicolas Anelka has been handed a five-match ban and fined £80,000 for this gesture

Banned: Nicolas Anelka has been handed a five-match ban and fined £80,000 for this gesture

 

Back in action: Anelka (left) will have to pay for his own lawyer as West Brom refuse to help

Back in action: Anelka (left) will have to pay for his own lawyer as West Brom refuse to help

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.’

West Brom later released a statement after deciding to suspend the striker following the outcome of the hearing.

It said: ‘West Bromwich Albion treats very seriously any such allegation which includes any reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion and/or belief. Upon both charges being proven, the Club has suspended Nicolas Anelka pending the conclusion of the FA’s disciplinary process and the Club’s own internal investigation.

‘The Club acknowledges that the FA panel ‘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’. However, the Club cannot ignore the offence that his actions have caused, particularly to the Jewish community, nor the potential damage to the Club’s reputation.’

The gesture is widely-regarded as an anti-Semitic inverted Nazi salute and has caused a political storm in France.

Anelka, 34, insisted he was not guilty in front of an FA hearing at the Grove Hotel in Hertfordshire, which is the favoured base of the England team ahead of their international matches at Wembley.

Games Anelka will miss

Manchester United (home) March 8
Swansea (away) March 15
Hull (away) March 22
Cardiff (home) March 29
Norwich (away) April 5

The former France striker argued that his gesture was ‘neither anti-Semitic, nor racist’ and merely a show of support for his friend Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, a controversial French comedian and the creator of the ‘quenelle’ who has now been banned from performing in a number of French cities.

‘Nicolas Anelka is pleased that the FA Regulatory Commission has found him not to be an Anti-Semite and that he did not intend to express or promote Anti-Semitism by his use of the quenelle gesture,’ read a statment from Brown Rudnick LLP, legal advisers to the striker.

‘He is now waiting to receive the Commission’s full reasons for their decision before considering whether or not to appeal.

‘Nicolas Anelka has been advised not to make any further comment while the proceedings are ongoing.’

Hosting the hearing: The Grove hotel in Hertfordshire is the venue of Anelka's disciplinary hearing

Hosting the hearing: The Grove hotel in Hertfordshire is the venue of Anelka’s disciplinary hearing

Wayne Rooney during the England golf day at the Grove

Wayne Rooney is pictured posing with an England flag in the grounds of the Grove Hotel

In the Grove: Rooney relaxes on the Grove hotel golf course on England duty (left) and does some promotional work in the grounds of the Hertforshire hotel complex (right)

Controversial Dieudonne Mbala delivering a speech prior to the premiere of his movie ‘Antisemite’ (Anti-Jewish) on the stage of the ‘Main d’Or’ theatre in Paris, France

Anelka was told by West Brom that he would have to foot his legal bills himself and the ex-Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool star hired leading QC Pushpinder Saini, whose clients have included Michael Jackson and Simon Cowell, to represent him.

In 2009 he represented the Indian Premier League in its first prosecution of a cricketer for an anti-doping offence. Mohammed Asif was banned by the IPL Tribunal for one year following a positive sample for Nandrolone.

Anelka’s actions have previously been branded ‘disgusting’ by the French Interior Minister and the FA’s case was based on the 20-page report they requested from an appointed academic expert in racism.

Anti-Racism campaign Kick It Out released the following statement: ‘Kick It Out notes the Independent Regulatory Commission’s decision to issue Nicolas Anelka with a five-match suspension, a fine of £80,000 and an order to complete compulsory education, for an aggravated breach of FA Rule E3.

‘The campaign acknowledges that Anelka has seven days to inform The Football Association (FA) of whether or not he wishes to exercise his right to appeal the decision.

‘Kick It Out awaits Anelka’s response and the written reasons from the Independent Regulatory Commission. The campaign will continue to follow protocol by not issuing further comment until the case is brought to its conclusion.’

WEST BROM’S STATEMENT IN FULL

West Bromwich Albion notes that both charges were proven against Nicolas Anelka at an FA hearing in relation to a gesture he made during the 3-3 draw at West Ham on December 28.

The Club cooperated fully with the FA’s investigation and has allowed due process to take place without prejudicing the outcome of the player’s hearing.

Both the player and Club are now awaiting the written reasons for the panel’s decision, upon the receipt of which the player will have seven days to decide whether to exercise his right of appeal.

West Bromwich Albion treats very seriously any such allegation which includes any reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion and/or belief. Upon both charges being proven, the Club has suspended Nicolas Anelka pending the conclusion of the FA’s disciplinary process and the Club’s own internal investigation.

The Club acknowledges that the FA panel ‘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’. However, the Club cannot ignore the offence that his actions have caused, particularly to the Jewish community, nor the potential damage to the Club’s reputation.

The Club will make no further comment until the FA’s disciplinary process and its own internal investigation have been completed.

 

THE FA STATEMENT IN FULL

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 £80,000, pending appeal.

The West Bromwich Albion player has also been ordered to complete a compulsory education course.

The Independent Regulatory Commission will provide written reasons for its decision in due course.

Mr Anelka has the right to appeal the decision. Mr Anelka must notify The FA of his intention to appeal within seven days of receipt of the written reasons.

The penalty is suspended until after the outcome of any appeal, or the time for appealing expires, or Mr Anelka notifies The FA of his decision not to appeal.

Independent Regulatory Commission – summary of decision

1. This is a written statement of the decision of The FA Regulatory Commission (chaired by independent Counsel Christopher Quinlan QC, Thura KT Win, Peter Powell) that sat on 25 and 26 February 2014 to consider charges brought against the player Nicolas Anelka (FA Disciplinary Regulation 9.1).

2. Arising out of his conduct during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United FC and West Bromwich Albion FC on 28 December 2013 he was charged as follows:

a. In or around the 40th minute of the match he made a gesture (known as the ‘quenelle’) which was abusive and/or indecent and/or insulting and/or improper, contrary to FA Rule E3(1); and

b. That the misconduct was an “Aggravated Breach” as defined by FA Rule E3(2) in that it included a reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion or belief.

3. He denied both charges.

4. The Regulatory Commission heard from the player, two expert witnesses and submissions from Leading Counsel for The FA and Nicolas Anelka.

5. Charge 1 – the Regulatory Commission found this Charge proved.

6. Charge 2 –

a. The Regulatory Commission found this Charge proved

b. 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.

7. Sanction: having considered further submissions from Leading Counsel for The FA and Nicolas Anelka, the Regulatory Commission impose.

a. An immediate playing suspension from all club football until such time as West Bromwich Albion first team has completed five matches

b. Fined him £80,000

c. He will pay the costs of the hearing in full.

8. In consequence of the finding on Charge 2, the player will be subject to an education programme, the details of which will be provided to him by The FA (FA Rule 3(7)).

9. There is a right of appeal against this decision in accordance with FA regulations. Written reasons within the meaning of FA Disciplinary Regulation 9.3 will follow within seven days of the date of this written statement.

10. We order a stay of the five-match suspension pursuant to Regulation 8.11 of the Disciplinary Regulations until:

a. The expiry of seven-day period from receipt of our written reasons in which Mr Anelka has right of appeal against this decision, if no appeal is lodged during that period, or

b. Written notification to The FA of any decision by Mr Anelka not to appeal, if served prior to the expiry of period for appealing, or

c. The outcome of any appeal lodged by Mr Anelka against this decision, if an appeal is lodged during the period for appealing.

 

Source : Daily Mail

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