FA applauded for Anelka 'quenelle' punishment

The Football Association issued the "right message" by banning Nicolas Anelka for his 'quenelle' gesture, insist a Jewish charity.

Anelka, the West Brom striker, caused controversy when he made the salute after scoring in the 3-3 draw at West Ham in the Premier League in December.

The Frenchman insisted that it was meant as an anti-establishment jibe as opposed to the anti-Semitic connotations linked to what is described as an inverted Nazi salute.

The FA announced on Thursday that Anelka has been given a five-match suspension, pending an appeal, in addition to an £80,000 fine after being found guilty of an aggravated breach of the FA's anti-discrimination rules.

And the Community Security Trust (CST) – a UK charity that campaigns to safeguard the rights of members of the Jewish community – believe that the FA should be applauded for the stance made against the 34-year-old, who has also been suspended by West Brom pending the conclusion of the governing body's disciplinary process and the club's own investigation.

"This verdict sends a strong message to Jewish players and supporters at all levels of the game that the FA will act against anti-Semitic acts if they are reported," said a CST statement.

"CST made a formal complaint to the FA on the day that Anelka made his quenelle salute and we have kept in regular contact with the FA throughout this process, including supplying them with information about the quenelle and its inventor, the French comedian Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala.

"Working with our partners in the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council, we successfully asked the Home Secretary to ban Dieudonne from travelling to the UK.

"We are pleased to see that this process has now reached a satisfactory conclusion with today's guilty verdict.

"Although we acknowledge Anelka's insistence that he did not intend his quenelle to be anti-Semitic, the FA has a zero-tolerance policy for racism in football and it is vital that this principle is applied equally to anti-Semitism as it is to other forms of racism.

"Today’s verdict sends out the right message to Jewish footballers and supporters and we will continue to work with the FA and other partners to eradicate anti-Semitism from football."