West Brom suspend Anelka over 'quenelle' gesture

West Brom have suspended Nicolas Anelka indefinitely after the Football Association handed him a five-match ban for his 'quenelle' salute.

The Frenchman would have been available during a potential appeal process in the eyes of the FA, but the club have now dropped Anelka pending the outcome of an investigation of their own.

Anelka has defended his gesture by claiming it is intended to be anti-establishment, but, although the FA found he had not intended his goal celebration during the 3-3 draw at West Ham in December to be anti-Semitic, the governing body ruled it could have been interpreted as such and was worthy of punishment.

West Brom said they were unable to "ignore the offence that his actions have caused, particularly to the Jewish community, nor the potential damage to the club’s reputation".

The five-match suspension meted down to the striker was the minimum sentence possible under anti-racism laws established by the FA prior to the current season.

Anelka has also been fined £80,000 and ordered to undergo an educational course, with seven days to appeal the decision.

A statement on West Brom's official website said: "West Bromwich Albion notes that both charges were proven against Nicolas Anelka at an FA hearing in relation to a gesture he made during the 3-3 draw at West Ham on December 28.

"The club cooperated fully with the FA's investigation and has allowed due process to take place without prejudicing the outcome of the player's hearing.

"Both the player and club are now awaiting the written reasons for the panel's decision, upon the receipt of which the player will have seven days to decide whether to exercise his right of appeal.

"West Bromwich Albion treats very seriously any such allegation which includes any reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion and/or belief.

"Upon both charges being proven, the club has suspended Nicolas Anelka pending the conclusion of the FA's disciplinary process and the club's own internal investigation."