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Dieudonne backs Anelka over 'quenelle' gesture

The French comedian is credited with inventing the gesture, which has been described as an "inverted Nazi salute", with critics saying it is racist and anti-Semitic.

Anelka is facing a minimum five-match ban after being charged by the Football Association on Tuesday for making the gesture after scoring in West Brom's 3-3 draw with West Ham last month.

The 34-year-old suggested he would contest the charge via his official Facebook page on Wednesday, reaffirming his stance that the salute is anti-establishment and denied suggestions of anti-Semitic connotations.

M'bala M'Bala, a controversial figure in France who saw live performances on his national tour cancelled by French courts recently, backed Anelka's stance and paid tribute to the former Chelsea striker's "courage".

"Nicolas Anelka has all my support, that's evident," he said in an interview with Sky News.

"I consider him a brother in humanity. He's someone who is very courageous and for whom I have very much respect and admiration.

"Anelka is a descendant of slaves and if he wants to remark on this history then he has the right to - and we are all very proud of him doing so.

"We are all behind him in solidarity and we are above all proud because of his noble position. To us he is a prince."

On the 'quenelle' gesture, he added: "There's no hint of racism. Racism is a bad thing. In France it's a gesture against the system."

West Brom's main shirt sponsor, Zoopla, confirmed on Monday that they would not extend their deal with the club for next season in light of the furore.