Kick It Out, the organisation charged with tackling racism in football, reacted to concerns over its failure to condemn Nicolas Anelka’s quenelle gesture by threatening to take legal action against the JC.
The newspaper had questioned the group’s commitment to fighting antisemitism in the game in an article published last Thursday.
In response, Kick It Out chairman, Lord Ouseley sent an email demanding that the paper “withdraw all references to Kick It Out, failing which we will take such action as we deem appropriate, including instructing our solicitors.”
The organisation adopted a conciliatory line in a letter the following day, with Lord Ouseley saying he welcomed “the opportunity to explain [Kick It Out’s] position”.
He also acknowleged for the first time that the salute “was clearly insulting to Jewish people and to many other people who are opposed to racism and antisemitism”.
Mr Anelka had made the quenelle gesture — a form of Nazi salute — three weeks earlier, in a Premier League game. At the time Kick It Out said it had “antisemitic connotations” but would not comment further, preferring to await the outcome of the Football Association investigation into the incident.
But this week, on Wednesday, Kick It Out issued another statement, in which it said it was “very frustrated” at the time the investigation was taking, complaining that, “in spite of requests for information” there had been a period of “total silence from The FA”.
Last Friday, January 10, the FA stated that it was “working with an appointed expert” on the issue.
However, it failed to say who the expert is, and remains unwilling to disclose how long the investigation will take, saying it will not make further comment until “Monday 20 January at the earliest”.
Lord Mendelsohn, a trustee of the Holocaust Educational Trust, has expressed concern over the handling of the affair. “I’m particularly disappointed with Kick It Out,” he said.
“No amount of huffing and puffing over its spurious Y-word campaign will ever undo the damage to its reputation that its silence and inaction [on Anelka] will cause."