Nicolas Anelka does 'anti-semitic' gesture during Premier League match

Nicolas Anelka is in trouble with the FA after performing this gesture after scoring at Upton Park today

The Football Association have opened an investigation into a gesture made by Nicolas Anelka at Upton Park today which is widely viewed in France as being anti-semitic.

Anelka has insisted he was not making an anti-semitic statement when he celebrated a goal with the gesture, known as 'La Quenelle', but it is deeply controversial in France.

Anelka greeted his first goal in West Bromwich Albion's 3-3 draw with West Ham United today with the salute. Defended as an anti-establishment gesture by those who have used it but associated with anti-semitism by many others in France, it was invented by Anelka's friend and French comedian Dieudonne.

French comedian Dieudonne with his friend Nicolas Anelka

The gesture, which involves pointing one straightened arm downward while touching that arm’s shoulder with the opposite hand, has been condemned by Jewish groups as a 'Nazi salute in reverse' and French authorities have explored whether it should be made illegal.

Albion caretaker manager Keith Downing, speaking on behalf of Anelka after the game at Upton Park, said the striker had merely intended to pay homage to his friend.

"I'm aware of it, but it has got nothing to do what is being said," Downing told a press conference when asked about the gesture.

"It is dedicated to a French comedian he knows very, very well. He uses it in his act and I think speculation can be stopped now. It is absolute rubbish really.

"He is totally unaware of what the problems were or the speculation that has been thrown around. He is totally surprised by it."

The Football Association will now investigate whether the gesture was either offensive or racist or both, and Anelka will face a ban from football if they deem it was.

France's Minister of Sports called the gesture "a disgusting and shocking provocation" on her Twitter.

You may remember his "friend" from THIS POST

Source / Valérie Fourneyron's Twitter