Hate comedian Dieudonne calls Anelka ‘courageous’

Dieudonne (Photo: Réseau Voltaire)

Dieudonne (Photo: Réseau Voltaire)

Dieudonne has pledged his full support for Nicolas Anelka in the ongoing row over the footballer’s use of the Nazi-style salute popularised by the antisemitic French comedian.

The comedian, who has been convicted of multiple antisemitic offences in France, said he was “proud” of the West Bromwich Albion striker, calling him “courageous”.

Speaking to Sky News, he denied that the salute was antisemitic or racist and repeated his claim that it was “anti-establishment”.

"Anelka is someone I have much respect and admiration. We are all behind him in solidarity and above all proud of him because of his noble position. To us he’s a prince," he said.

Meanwhile, Everton manager Roberto Martinez has defended one of his players, Romelu Lukaku (on loan from Chelsea) over his support for Anelka. Mr Martinez called the quenelle salute and the ensuing FA investigation all one “big misunderstanding”.

“Remember, there has been a big, big misunderstanding about this issue,” said Martinez. “The quicker that that gets solved - and it is not for us to solve it, that is for the player [Anelka] and the FA - the better. Everyone will have clarity.”

The Everton boss was responding to the controversy surrounding Lukaku’s description of the Anelka incident as “not such a big deal” in a video posted on Everton’s website. The video was later removed.

“I don't think he should be banned, he was just supporting a comedian in France. We don't have to make such a big deal about it,” said Lukaku in the video. “I hope he doesn't get suspended because he is a player people want to play on the pitch.”

It had been thought that the football anti-racism organisation, Kick It Out, was about to drop Lukaku as one of their ambassadors in response to his comments.

However, Kick It Out released a statement today saying the campaign will continue its association with the striker after he offered a retraction. Lukaku said: “I apologise if I caused any offence with my comments as this was never my intention. There has been a misunderstanding and I want to clarify that I was in no way endorsing the gesture made by Nicolas.”

Last updated: 5:52pm, January 23 2014