Anelka states his case
Published 26/02/2014 | 21:12
Nicolas Anelka has begun his defence in the disciplinary hearing into his alleged anti-Semitic 'quenelle' salute.
West Brom's French striker spent a second day at the independent regulatory commission's hearing at the Grove Hotel in Watford, during which the defence team presented their case.
Anelka denies the goal celebration he performed against West Ham on December 28 had any anti-Semitic meaning and was a gesture in support of his friend, the French comedian Dieudonne M'bala M'bala, the person who first brought the quenelle to prominence.
Dieudonne, however, has been prosecuted for inciting racial hatred in France, and his supporters have been pictured using the quenelle as an anti-Jewish gesture. The comedian has also been banned from entering the UK.
The case is expected to end this week and hinge on whether Anelka had any knowledge of the quenelle's anti-Semitic connotations, and also whether he could be found guilty of the charge even if he was not aware of the full implications of the gesture.
The hearing is expected to be completed by the end of the week and if the case is proved Anelka faces a minimum five-match ban under the Football Association's new anti-discrimination rules.
The 34-year-old striker has been charged by the FA with performing an alleged anti-Semitic gesture during his club's match against the Hammers on December 28.
The charge is of an aggravated offence after making a gesture that was judged to be "abusive and/or indecent and/or insulting and/or improper".
The aggravated breach was that it included "a reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion or belief".