West Brom have announced they have sacked striker Nicolas Anelka, citing ”gross misconduct."
Anelka himself declared on Twitter hours earlier that he had decided to terminate his contract with Albion, a day after it was confirmed neither he nor the Football Association would contest the five-match ban he was handed for his ‘quenelle’ goal celebration in December.
West Brom responded by issuing a statement themselves, in which they stressed they had yet to receive any formal notification from Anelka or his advisors.
And they subsequently released another statement on Friday night, which said: "Nicolas Anelka’s purported termination of his Premier League contract this evening via social media was invalid as this was not conducted under the correct legal process as required by his contract.
"The club considers the conduct of Nicolas Anelka on December 28, coupled with his purported termination on social media this evening, to be gross misconduct.
"As a result the club has tonight written to Nicolas Anelka giving him 14 days’ notice of termination as required under his contract."
The former French international insists he is not racist, and that the gesture is anti-Establishment, not anti-Semitic. The gesture was first performed by a French comedian – and friend of Anelka – Dieudonne, who has convictions for anti-Semitism. Anelka was charged by the FA with misconduct and found guilty after a two-day hearing at the end of February. An independent regulatory commission however accepted there was no intent by Anelka to be anti-Semitic.
West Brom fined him £80,000 and he was ordered to complete a compulsory education course. The club has yet to confirm Anelka’s revelation that he is set to leave, with their own investigation into the former Arsenal and Real Madrid star’s actions expected to conclude next week.
Albion have already lost one sponsor as a result of the row.