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West Brom striker Nicolas Anelka contests FA's 'quenelle' charge

    West Brom forward Nicolas Anelka
    West Brom forward Nicolas Anelka

    West Bromwich Albion footballer Nicolas Anelka is to contest the Football Association's decision to charge him over the antisemitic quenelle gesture.

    The France striker used his Facebook page to state that he was "neither antisemitic or racist" and to challenge the allegations against him.

    He referred to the comments of Roger Cukierman, president of the French Jewish umbrella body Crif, who had earlier attempted to downplay the issue and who said the charges against Anelka were "harsh".

    The FA charged Anelka on Tuesday, claiming the gesture made in the game against West Ham last month was "abusive and/or indecent and/or insulting and/or improper, contrary to FA Rule E3[1]".

    It was "further alleged that this is an aggravated breach, as defined in FA Rule E3[2], in that it included a reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion or belief".

    Anelka made the gesture, a Nazi-style salute, during a Premier League on December 28. He claimed at the time that it was a tribute to his friend, the antisemitic French comedian Dieudonne M'balla.

    Reports in the Daily Mail on Wednesday suggested West Brom would refuse to pay for Anelka's lawyer if he chose to contest the FA charge.

    If his challenge is lost, the striker faces the prospect of the minimum five game ban being increased, possibly to 10 or more games.

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