Barrister who represented Michael Jackson and Simon Cowell is defending Anelka

Nicolas Anelka (Photo: PA)

Nicolas Anelka (Photo: PA)

A barrister who has represented Michael Jackson and Simon Cowell is defending Nicolas Anelka at the Football Association disciplinary hearing over his quenelle gesture.

According to The Lawyer magazine, Pushpinder Saini QC has been engaged to defend the West Bromwich Albion player against charges that he broke FA anti-discrimination rules when he performed the gesture - a form of Nazi salute - during a Premier League match last December.

If found guilty, Anelka could face a minimum five match ban.

The magazine also said Paul Greaney QC, of New Park Court Chambers, in Leeds, had been “instructed” by the FA for the hearing.

Mr Greaney acted for the FA in its case against Liverpool player Luis Suarez in 2012.

The names of the three members of the independent disciplinary panel hearing the Anelka case have not officially been made public. As well as a QC, they are thought to include one former player or manager, and an FA council member.

Anelka denies the charges.

The hearing is expected to run until the end of this week.

Last updated: 4:31pm, February 25 2014