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Five-match ban for Anelka

Nicolas Anelka has been banned for five games and fined 80,000 after being found guilty of aggravated misconduct over his 'quenelle' gesture.

An independent regulatory commission ruled the West Brom striker was guilty of breaching the Football Association's code of conduct when he celebrated a goal at West Ham in December by making the gesture.

And the panel upheld the FA's charge that his rule breach "included a reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion or belief."

Anelka has been ordered to attend an education programme and will miss games against Manchester United, Swansea, Hull, Cardiff and Norwich at a time when Albion are fighting relegation from the Premier League.

A five-match suspension is the minimum penalty for aggravated misconduct, and the 34-year-old has seven days to appeal once the commission's written reasons for the decision have been published.

The 'quenelle' gesture, popularised by a French comedian and friend of Anelka, has been linked with anti-Semitism by some French politicians.

But the commission made it clear it "did not find that Nicolas Anelka is an anti-Semite or that he intended to express or promote anti-Semitism by his use of the quenelle."

And Anelka has always maintained his actions were "anti-establishment" rather than motivated by race or religion.