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Saturday 30 August 2014

Nicolas Anelka pledges no repeat of controversial goal celebration

Published 30/12/2013 | 15:45

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Nicolas Anelka in his hot water over his celebration against West Ham
Nicolas Anelka in his hot water over his celebration against West Ham

Nicolas Anelka has agreed not to perform his controversial 'quenelle' goal celebration again, according to a statement released by his club West Brom.

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The French striker has denied the salute had any anti-Semitic connotations but he caused a storm in his native France by the gesture during the 3-3 draw with West Ham.

West Brom say they accept the celebration has caused some offence and that Anelka has been asked to refrain from doing it again - and that he has agreed to do so.

A club statement said: "The club fully acknowledges that Nicolas' goal celebration has caused offence in some quarters and has asked Nicolas not to perform the gesture again. Nicolas immediately agreed to adhere to this request."

The 'quenelle' salute was made famous in by French comedian Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala, who has been prosecuted for anti-Semitism. The European Jewish Congress has demanded action against Anelka, claiming it is an inverted Nazi salute.

French minister for sport Valerie Fourneyron also condemned the gesture as "shocking" and "disgusting".

Anelka has stated on Twitter it was nothing more than a "special dedication" to his friend Dieudonne.

The Football Association is continuing to investigate and West Brom are pursuing their own inquiries.

The West Brom statement added: "Nicolas was asked to explain his goal celebration by caretaker head coach, Keith Downing, within minutes of the game finishing at West Ham. Nicolas said that he performed the gesture to dedicate his goal to a friend and vehemently denied having any intention to cause offence.

"Upon reporting for training this morning, Nicolas was asked by sporting and technical director Richard Garlick to give a full explanation about his goal celebration, during which he again strongly denied intending to cause offence.

"The club is aware that the Football Association is investigating the matter and has offered its full co-operation. The club will continue to make its own inquiries - a process which will remain confidential between the club and Nicolas.

"Nicolas is eligible for matches whilst the FA carries out its investigation. Therefore, Nicolas will remain under consideration for first-team selection whilst The FA and club continue their enquiries."

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