Nicolas Anelka’s disciplinary hearing into his alleged anti-Semitic ’quenelle’ salute is to start today.
A three-man independent regulatory commission will hear the case which is expected to be completed by the end of the week.
West Brom’s French striker faces a minimum five-match ban under the Football Association’s new anti-discrimination rules if found guilty. Anelka has been charged by the FA with performing an alleged anti-Semitic gesture during his club’s match against West Ham on December 28.
The 34-year-old has denied the salute was anti-Semitic and requested a personal hearing.
Anelka was charged last month with 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”.
UEFA’s French president Michel Platini said at the weekend the European body would take a “zero tolerance” approach to the quenelle adding that “any display of racism on a UEFA pitch will be sanctioned and penalised”.
UEFA is dealing with a similar case with a gesture allegedly made by Belgian player Omar Rahou in a European futsal championship last month.
The quenelle has been described as an inverted Nazi salute and its invention has been credited to French comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, a friend of Anelka’s, who was been prosecuted in France for anti-Semitism.
Anelka maintains his goal celebration was an anti-establishment gesture in support of Dieudonne.
Last month, Dieudonne was banned from entering the UK after the Home Office made him subject to an exclusion order.