French Soccer Star Anelka Banned, Fined for 'Quenelle' Salute

Football Association rules the gesture discriminatory; bans Nicolas Anelka from five matches.

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail

French footballer Nicolas Anelka has been banned for five matches and fined £80,000 (just over $133,000) for making the "quenelle" gesture, which is considered to be anti-Semitic.

The English Football association had charged Anelka, 34, 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."

Anelka made the so-called "quenelle" sign after scoring a goal for his team West Bromwich Albion in a match against West Ham last December. The gesture has been described as a "reverse Nazi salute."

Anelka argued that the gesture is not anti-semitic but anti-establishment. However, after months of investigation and careful deliberation, the FA decided that there was a discriminatory element to the sign and have banned the player accordingly.

Anelka has the right to appeal, and has also been ordered to attend a course.

The FA's decision to charge Anelka caused controversy, with some in France claiming the gesture is not anti-Semitic, even though it has been widely associated with anti-Jewish sentiment.

Conversely, the length of time taken by the FA to charge and suspend the player was also criticised, highlighting the sensitivity of the incident.

The 'quenelle' was popularized by Dieudonne Mbala Mbala, a French comedian who is friends with Anelka, Dieudonne been repeatedly convicted of making anti-Semitic statements, and has been banned from performing in France.

The FA has been making a strong stand against racism in recent years, following high-profile incidents involving footballers Luis Suarez, and latterly John Terry. While those players were found guilty of making racial references towards black people, this is the first time a black footballer has been found guilty of a racial offence in England.

West Bromwich Albion's French striker Nicolas AnelkaCredit: AFP

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN


Soldiers using warfare devices made by the Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems.

Russia-Ukraine War Catapults Israeli Arms Industry to Global Stage

Flame and smoke rise during an Israeli air strike, amid Israel-Gaza fighting, in Gaza City August 6, 2022.

Israel Should End Gaza Operation Now, if It Can

Rio. Not all Jewish men wear black hats.

What Does a Jew Look Like? The Brits Don't Seem to Know

Karolina Bielowka.

'My Uncle Told Me, ‘Go on the Trip of Your Life, Go Dig in Israel.’ So I Did'

The replica ship, 'Ma’agan Mikhael II,' sailing from Haifa to Acre in northern Israel.

Replica of 2,400-year-old Ship Solves Ancient Mediterranean Mystery

File photo: Bus operated by Kavim company.

Ultra-Orthodox Extremists Assault Woman for Sitting at Front of Jerusalem Bus