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Anelka 'quenelle' hearing to take place next week

The former France international became embroiled in controversy when he made the salute after scoring in a 3-3 draw at West Ham in December.

Anelka, who faces a five-match ban if found guilty, requested a personal hearing after denying he had acted in an "abusive or indecent or insulting or improper" manner.

The 34-year-old vehemently insisted that the sign - which is considered by some to have any anti-Semitic connotations - was to show his support for his comedian friend Dieudonne M'bala M'bala.

M'bala M'bala is credited with inventing the gesture, which is described as an inverted Nazi salute.

M'bala M'bala leapt to Anelka's defence last month, describing the former Real Madrid man as a "prince" and "a brother in humanity".

West Brom's backing of the striker has led to sponsor Zoopla ending their association with the club, while anti-racism group Kick It Out have previously voiced their frustration at the length of time it took the FA to act on the issue.