Anelka points out Jewish group view
Published 22/01/2014 | 10:27
Nicolas Anelka has offered a cryptic insight into how he might plead after the Football Association charged him over his controversial 'quenelle' salute.
West Brom striker Anelka has until 6pm on Thursday to respond to the charge he made an improper gesture, and that it was an aggravated breach in that it included "a reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion or belief".
Anelka has long maintained the gesture he made after scoring in West Brom's 3-3 draw at West Ham on December 28 was not anti-Semitic, as condemned by many, but instead anti-establishment.
His conviction appears to be unwavering.
In a new post on his Twitter feed, the 34-year-old has written 'Rien a ajouter', which when translated reads 'Nothing to add'. Pertinently, Anelka includes a link to a video clip on Le Figaro that shows an interview with Roger Cukierman, president of Crif, the council representing French Jewish institutions.
In the short 40-second segment, Cukierman claims Anelka's gesture was not anti-Semitic and that he should not be heavily punished. The FA have the power to sentence him to a minimum five-match ban.
Cukierman said: "It seems a bit severe to me because it seems to me that this gesture only has an anti-Semitic connotation if the gesture is made in front of a synagogue or a memorial to the Holocaust.
"When it's made in a place which is not specifically Jewish it seems to me that it's a slightly anarchic gesture of revolt against the establishment, which doesn't deserve severe sanctions."
Other pressure groups, however, have called for Anelka to be handed more than a five-game suspension due to his lack of an apology.
Jonathan Arkush, vice-president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, told Press Association Sport: "I know under the rules that on a first-time offence there is a minimum five-game suspension.
"But I think what he did was sufficiently serious to justify a longer suspension than five matches.
"He has not indicated one bit of remorse or regret or apologised for his actions.
"He has simply said he wouldn't do it again and that is not good enough."
The quenelle has been described as an inverted Nazi salute and was created by French comedian Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala, who has been prosecuted for anti-Semitism.
Anelka is a friend of Dieudonne's and the player has insisted his salute was a gesture of support and aimed at the French establishment.
Mark Gardner, of the Community Security Trust, which advises the Jewish community on security and anti-Semitism, said the FA should take action against Anelka.
He said: "Anelka has introduced a very ugly phenomenon into British football.
"Anelka's action risks the 'quenelle' being taken up by actual anti-Semites and used against British Jews: as it has been in France and elsewhere.
"The FA should throw the book at him."