West Bromwich Albion striker Nicolas Anelka called on the English Football Association today to drop his racism charge after the leader of French Jewry insisted a goal-celebration gesture was not anti-Semitic.
The FA spent more than three weeks studying the case before deciding the gesture, which is known in France as a "quenelle" and has been described as an "inverted Nazi salute," was a racially aggravated breach of its rules.
But the Frenchman, who faces a minimum five-game ban, insisted the FA wrongly interpreted the meaning of the "quenelle."
"I ask the English FA to kindly lift the charges alleged against me," Anelka wrote on his verified Facebook page. "And I repeat, I am not anti-Semitic or racist."
Anelka is highlighting how Roger Cukierman, the President of the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions, believes the FA overreacted by charging him.
Yesterday, Anelka tweeted "nothing to add" with a link to a French interview with Cukierman insisting the striker's actions were not anti-Semitic because they were not in front of a synagogue or a Holocaust memorial.
Anelka said the FA should have consulted Cukierman.
"The English FA engaged an expert to give a ruling on the meaning of my quenelle," Anelka wrote on Wednesday on Facebook. "This person concluded that my gesture had an anti-Semitic connotation, which led to me being charged by the FA. It would have been right if this expert was French, living in France and able to have an exact understanding of my gesture.
"What better expert than Mr Cukierman ... who explained very clearly that my quenelle could not be considered as anti-Semitic. What's more, he has explained precisely and at which moment this gesture could have such a connotation."
Anelka has until Friday morning (NZ time) to formally respond to the FA charge. A three-person FA independent regulatory commission will deal with the case.
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