/ Soccer

Nicolas Anelka and English FA accept five-match ban

Updated: Thursday, 13 Mar 2014 20:03 | Comments

Nicolas Anelka did "quenelle" after scoring against West Ham
Nicolas Anelka did "quenelle" after scoring against West Ham

Nicolas Anelka will serve a five-match ban after the English Football Association confirmed neither it nor the West Brom striker will appeal against the sanction for his "quenelle" gesture.

The former France international was hit with the ban last week after a hearing before an independent regulatory commission into his use of the gesture, which has anti-Semitic connotations, as a goal celebration after scoring against West Ham on December 28.

Anelka insisted he made the gesture in support of his friend, the French comedian Dieudonne M'bala M'bala, who has been convicted seven times of anti-Semitic crimes.

The FA had argued for a longer ban than the minimum five matches specified for an "aggravated breach" of Rule E3(1), which relates to the use of a gesture which 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".

Both Anelka and the FA had seven days in which to appeal the sanction but a statement on thefa.com revealed no such action will be taken.

The full statement read: "Having now considered very carefully the written reasons of the Independent Regulatory Commission together with our appointed QC, we do not consider there is a real prospect of successfully appealing to extend the sanction imposed.

"The grounds of appeal available to us are limited to legal challenges or to circumstances in which the sanction imposed is 'so unduly lenient as to be unreasonable'. That is a high test.

"Whilst The FA pressed the Independent Regulatory Commission to impose a harsher sanction on Nicolas Anelka than a suspension of five matches, it is not so far outside the range of sanctions that would have been appropriate in this case to be properly described as unreasonable.

"With confirmation that both parties will not be appealing, Nicolas Anelka will serve out his suspension during this season. We also welcome his confirmation the gesture will not be repeated."

User contributions and/or comments do not, unless specifically stated, represent the views of RTÉ.ie or RTÉ.
Click here for Terms of use