UK & World News

  • 31 December 2013, 0:59

Nicolas Anelka 'Won't Do Quenelle Again'

Nicolas Anelka has agreed not to perform his controversial 'quenelle' goal celebration again after West Bromwich Albion admitted it had caused offence "in some quarters".

The French striker provoked widespread criticism over the gesture during the 3-3 draw with West Ham - described by some as reverse Nazi salute - but has insisted it had no anti-Semitic connotations.

A statement issued by his club, West Brom, said it had asked the 34-year-old to refrain from doing the celebration again.

"The club fully acknowledges that Nicolas' goal celebration has caused offence in some quarters and has asked Nicolas not to perform the gesture again," the statement said.

"Nicolas immediately agreed to adhere to this request."

While West Brom caretaker manager Keith Downing said he may pick the striker for the match against Newcastle on Wednesday he admitted that the controversy - which is still being investigated by the FA - has become a distraction.

The 'quenelle' salute was brought to prominence in Anelka's 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, while French minister for sport Valerie Fourneyron labelled the gesture "shocking" and "disgusting".

The former Arsenal, Real Madrid and Chelsea player has stated on Twitter it was merely a "special dedication" to his friend Dieudonne.

The West Brom statement said the club's own investigation was continuing alongside the FA's.

"Nicolas said that he performed the gesture to dedicate his goal to a friend and vehemently denied having any intention to cause offence," the club said.

"Upon reporting for training this morning, Nicolas was asked by sporting and technical director Richard Garlick to give a full explanation about his goal celebration, during which he again strongly denied intending to cause offence."

Downing said he had spoken to Anelka about the celebration immediately after the game.

"He was categorically adamant that he didn't mean to cause any problems and I was led to believe that," Downing told a news conference.

"Obviously the last two days have been an education to realise what it was all about."