Skip to main content

Nicolas Anelka handed 5-match ban and fined for 'quenelle' gesture

updated 1:59 PM EST, Thu February 27, 2014
Nicolas Anelka has been handed a five-game ban by the English Football Association.
Nicolas Anelka has been handed a five-game ban by the English Football Association.
  • EPL player handed five-game ban and fined for gesture by English FA
  • Anelka denied charges that gesture he made was "abusive, indecent or insulting"
  • FA Regulatory Commission "did not find Nicolas Anelka is an anti-Semite"
  • "Quenelle" popularized by controversial French comedian Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala

(CNN) -- French soccer star Nicolas Anelka has been given a five-match ban and fined £80,000 ($130,000) by the English Football Association (FA) for making a "quenelle" gesture in a game last year.

The West Bromwich Albion striker was charged by the FA on January 21 after making the gesture in an English Premier League match against West Ham United on December 28.

The "quenelle" which involves pointing a straightened arm downwards while touching the shoulder of that arm with the other hand, is believed by some to be a Nazi salute in reverse and has been linked with anti-Semitism in Anelka's homeland.

An Independent Regulatory Commission was asked to consider if the gesture was "abusive and/or indecent and/or insulting and/or improper," and "included a reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion or belief."

Both charges were proved, said the commission, but it added it did not believe Anelka to be a racist.

"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 Regulatory Commission said in a statement.

In addition to the ban and fine, Anelka has been ordered to undertake a "compulsory education course," the FA said.

The 34-year-old, who denied the charges and asked for a personal hearing, commented on Twitter after the match that the gesture was "a dedication" to the French comedian Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala before adding: "I am neither racist nor anti-Semitic."

Known as Dieudonne, he has popularized the "quenelle" gesture in France and faces investigation by the Paris prosecutor's office for his controversial stand-up routine.

During a performance, he said of a prominent Jewish journalist: "Me, you see, when I hear Patrick Cohen speak, I think to myself: 'Gas chambers ... too bad (they no longer exist)."

Anelka has seven days to appeal the decision.

The Independent Regulatory Commission stated it will reveal how it arrived at its decision "in due course."

Read more: Anti-Semitism row shines light on fractured French society

Read more: West Brom lose sponsors over Anelka row

Part of complete coverage on
updated 7:51 AM EDT, Fri August 15, 2014
Last season Jose Mourinho wrote off the title of hopes of his "little horse" -- but now he has a squad primed to dethrone Manchester City.
updated 2:58 PM EDT, Thu August 14, 2014
Luis Suarez will have to wait until late October to make his competitive Barcelona debut his ban for biting an opponent was partially upheld.
updated 12:49 PM EDT, Thu August 14, 2014
Can Louis van Gaal cut it at Manchester United? Will Bayern conquer all in Germany? Is this PSG's year to win the Champions League?
updated 6:12 AM EDT, Thu August 7, 2014
It's been a difficult year for Barcelona on and off the pitch, and the signing of Luis Suarez has only increased the prospect of more controversy.
updated 10:35 AM EDT, Mon August 11, 2014
Germany striker Miroslav Klose, who scored a total of 16 goals at four World Cup finals, has announced his retirement from international football.
updated 7:45 AM EDT, Thu July 31, 2014
Cultural y Deportivo Leonesa line up in their tuxedo kit.
When celebrating an important anniversary, it's always good to look your best. At least that's theory for a Spanish football team's preseason tuxedo kit.
updated 7:03 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
While many top European clubs are targeting the U.S. market, French football is setting its sights on expanding into Asia -- with China playing a key role.
updated 8:29 AM EDT, Sun July 27, 2014
Major League Soccer has snared another big name from England with former Chelsea star Frank Lampard committing his future to New York City FC.
updated 12:56 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Europe's top clubs have booked a summer holiday to the U.S. -- but this is business not pleasure as they look to cash in on the World Cup afterglow.
updated 2:28 PM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Brazil's new coach Dunga won the World Cup as a player in 1994.
Former World Cup-winning captain Dunga is appointed coach of Brazil's national team for the second time, charged with restoring national pride.
updated 10:20 AM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Colombia's World Cup star James Rodriguez continues Real Madrid's long tradition of signing "Galacticos."
updated 6:07 AM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Germany's World Cup-winning captain Philipp Lahm has decided to go out at the top by announcing his retirement from international football.