Anelka ban labelled win 'for all decent people'

Nicolas Anelka's ban for performing the 'quenelle' salute has been labelled "a sign of success for all decent people" by a Jewish leader.

Anelka made the gesture after scoring in West Brom's 3-3 draw at West Ham in December.

Vivian Wineman, chairman of the Jewish Leadership Council and president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, believes the punishment handed down by the Football Association on Thursday will help to put across a strong anti-racist message.

Anelka was hit with a five-game ban - the minimum allowed under new FA anti-discrimination laws - as well as an £80,000 fine, while he will be required to take an educational course.

The Frenchman insisted his intentions were anti-establishment rather than anti-Semitic, which was backed up by a tribunal, although the offence caused by the gesture has seen Anelka punished.

And Wineman congratulated the FA's decision, believing it sends out a strong message about the salute's connotations.

"It's a sign of success for all decent people," he told Perform.

"This isn't an issue for the Jewish community particularly, it's an issue for everybody who's against anti-Semitism - which should be all decent people.

"It's an anti-Semitic gesture and it's got to be stamped on and this verdict by this tribunal does exactly that and it's good.

"He's said he's not anti-Semitic. That's fine, we hear that.

"It sends out a pretty powerful message. It's a five-match ban an £80,000 fine and he's having to go on an anti-Semitism awareness course so it's a pretty strong message that's been sent out.

"We obviously welcome it."

West Brom suspended Anelka pending the outcome of any appeal process and their own investigation into the matter.

The club's interim coach at the time, Keith Downing, had initially played down Anelka's actions and Wineman was happy to see the West Brom hierarchy realise the seriousness of the matter.

He added: "I'm not going to tell West Brom what they should do, but it's pretty serious what he's done and I don't think he appreciated the seriousness of it when he did it.

"This is pretty serious and it's right that they should punish him.

"That the club should take some action is also good because when it all happened they were a bit slow in realising how serious it was and I'm glad they've woken up to it."