Anelka to serve five-match ban
West Brom striker Nicolas Anelka has been suspended for five games and fined £80,000 following an investigation into his 'quenelle' gesture, the Football Association has announced.
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The Frenchman performed the goal celebration after scoring in his club's match against West Ham on December 28.
Anelka denied the gesture had any anti-Semitic meaning and was a signal in support of his friend, the French comedian Dieudonne M'bala M'bala, the person who first brought the quenelle to prominence.
He and a legal team have mounted a defence this week at an independent regulatory commission's hearing at the Grove Hotel in Watford.
The independent regulatory commission said in a statement on the FA website that the two charges Anelka faced - that the gesture was abusive and/or indecent and/or insulting and/or improper, and that it included a reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion or belief - were both found proved.
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."
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."
The punishment is suspended pending a seven-day period in which Anelka may launch an appeal, unless he decides against appealing, the commission said.