West Bromwich Albion striker Nicolas Anelka has been banned for five matches and fined £80,000 after a hearing by an independent panel ruled that there was a racist element to his Quenelle gesture he made after scoring a goal against West Ham United.
In addition to the ban and fine, Anelka has also been ordered to complete a compulsory education course.
Anelka has an opportunity to appeal the decision. According to The FA, “Mr Anelka must notify The FA of his intention to appeal within seven days of receipt of the written reasons. The penalty is suspended until after the outcome of any appeal, or the time for appealing expires, or Mr Anelka notifies The FA of his decision not to appeal.”
Meanwhile, there’s still the opportunity for West Bromwich Albion to take action against Anelka now that the independent commission has reached its findings.
Here’s the summary of the decision by the Independent Regulatory Commission:
1. This is a written statement of the decision of The FA Regulatory Commission (chaired by independent Counsel Christopher Quinlan QC, Thura KT Win, Peter Powell) that sat on 25 and 26 February 2014 to consider charges brought against the player Nicolas Anelka (FA Disciplinary Regulation 9.1).
2. Arising out of his conduct during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United FC and West Bromwich Albion FC on 28 December 2013 he was charged as follows:
a. In or around the 40th minute of the match he made a gesture (known as the ‘quenelle’) which was abusive and/or indecent and/or insulting and/or improper, contrary to FA Rule E3(1); and
b. That the misconduct was an “Aggravated Breach” as defined by FA Rule E3(2) in that it included a reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion or belief.
3. He denied both charges.
4. The Regulatory Commission heard from the player, two expert witnesses and submissions from Leading Counsel for The FA and Nicolas Anelka.
5. Charge 1 – the Regulatory Commission found this Charge proved.
6. Charge 2 –
a. The Regulatory Commission found this Charge proved
b. So far as the basis for our finding on Charge 2 is concerned, we did not find that Nicolas Anelka is an Anti-Semite or that he intended to express or promote Anti-Semitism by his use of the quenelle.
7. Sanction: having considered further submissions from Leading Counsel for The FA and Nicolas Anelka, the Regulatory Commission imposed
a. An immediate playing suspension from all club football until such time as West Bromwich Albion first team has completed five matches
b. Fined him £80,000
c. He will pay the costs of the hearing in full.
8. In consequence of the finding on Charge 2, the player will be subject to an education programme, the details of which will be provided to him by The FA (FA Rule 3(7)).
9. There is a right of appeal against this decision in accordance with FA regulations.
Written reasons within the meaning of FA Disciplinary Regulation 9.3 will follow within seven days of the date of this written statement.