No more anti-Semitic salutes, vows Anelka

Nicolas Anelka has agreed not to perform his controversial “quenelle” goal celebration again after West Brom conceded the gesture had caused offence.

No more anti-Semitic salutes, vows Anelka

The French striker has denied the salute had any anti-Semitic connotations but he caused a storm in his native France by making 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.”

West Brom caretaker boss Downing said he may pick the striker for the match against Newcastle tomorrow but admitted the controversy — which is still being investigated by the FA — has become a distraction.

The ‘quenelle’ salute was brought to prominence in his homeland 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.

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

Pictures have also emerged of two other French players, Samir Nasri and Mamadou Sakho, performing the gesture.

The photograph of Manchester City playmaker Nasri was taken outside the club’s Carrington training base and is thought to date back to November.

It is understood Nasri says he was unaware of the anti-Semitic or political connotations of the gesture and did it because of its popularity in France.

City manager Manuel Pellegrini refused to comment on the matter when asked at a press conference ahead of his side’s New Year’s Day game at Swansea.

Pellegrini said: “I don’t know what you are talking about. I haven’t seen it. I read that something happened with Anelka but I don’t know anything about Samir. I can’t talk about something I haven’t seen.”

Liverpool defender Sakho said in November that he was tricked into performing the gesture.

He wrote on his Twitter account: “This photo was taken six months ago, I did not know the meaning of this gesture, I got trapped!”

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