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Anelka vows not to repeat controversial gesture

The French striker celebrated his second goal in the Premier League draw at West Ham on Saturday with a gesture that has been linked to anti-establishment, but also alleged anti-Semitic, connotations in his homeland.

Anelka insisted that he had not set out to offend anyone of Jewish faith, stating that the action was dedicated to his comedian friend Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, but it is reported that he could be banned for at least five games.

The Football Association (FA) are investigating the gesture, while West Brom have accepted Anelka's explanation for the celebration, but have warned the former Arsenal, Chelsea and Real Madrid man he must not repeat it.

The Premier League outfit will continue to assist the FA with their investigation while they also make further enquiries, but also revealed he will continue to be available for selection.

West Brom released a statement on their website, which read: "Nicolas was asked to explain his goal celebration by caretaker head coach Keith Downing within minutes of the game finishing at West Ham. Nicolas said that he performed the gesture to dedicate his goal to a friend and vehemently denied having any intention to cause offence.

"Upon reporting for training this morning, Nicolas was asked by sporting and technical director Richard Garlick to give a full explanation about his goal celebration, during which he again strongly denied intending to cause offence.

"The club fully acknowledges that Nicolas' goal celebration has caused offence in some quarters and has asked Nicolas not to perform the gesture again. Nicolas immediately agreed to adhere to this request.

The club is aware that The Football Association is investigating the matter and has offered its full co-operation. The club will continue to make its own enquiries - a process which will remain confidential between the club and Nicolas.

"Nicolas is eligible for matches whilst The FA carries out its investigation. Therefore, Nicolas will remain under consideration for first-team selection whilst The FA and club continue their enquiries."