The Football Association and Nicolas Anelka appear set to accept the five-match ban imposed on the West Bromwich Albion striker for his quenelle gesture by an independent panel when the written reasons behind the decision are published on Thursday. The five-match ban and £80,000 fine imposed on the Frenchman, who was subsequently suspended by his club and is unlikely to feature for them again this season, has been criticised as too lenient in some quarters with the Labour MP John Cryer labelling the FA "pathetically spineless". But some Jewish groups have praised the FA for making the punishment stick. The FA has said it will wait for the written reasons to be made public before commenting on whether it will push for a stronger penalty, but it is believed to be unlikely to do so. Albion are also considering the full report before deciding what, if any, additional action will be taken against the forward. Anelka, who has insisted the gesture was not antisemitic but made in support of the controversial comedian who popularised it, is also unlikely to oppose the sanction – the most lenient that could have been levied under the FA's new antiracism rules. The panel found that Anelka's gesture, made after scoring against West Ham in December, 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". But it also "did not find that Nicolas Anelka is an antisemite or that he intended to express or promote antisemitism by his use of the quenelle". Other antiracism and Jewish groups have said they will also wait to see the written reasons, expected to be published on Thursday, before commenting.
Nicolas Anelka and FA set to accept five-game ban for 'quenelle' gesture
The Guardian | Mar 6