LONDON: The FA will press for an increase in Nicolas Anelka’s five-match ban for his infamous ‘quenelle ‘gesture if given cause by the reasoning of the independent regulatory commission writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Last week the former France striker was banned, fined £80,000 and ordered to undertake an education course as punishment for his goal celebration on behalf of West Bromwich against West Ham on December 28.
Subsequently Anelka, who had contested the charge of an aggravated gesture, was suspended indefinitely by the struggling West Midlands club pending the outcome of any appeals.
The full verdict statement will be delivered to both parties today/Monday.
The FA’s stance, according to chairman Greg Dyke and general secretary Alex Horne while in Zurich for the weekend IFAB lawmakers’ annual meeting, rests on whether they feel Anelka has been treated too leniently.
Anelka’s position is more complex: he received the minimum possible suspension so the central point of issue for him would be the guilty verdict itself.
The initial statement from the disciplinary panel indicated an acceptance that 34-year-old Anelka is not anti-Semitic and had claimed not to comprehend this was how the gesture is widely perceived, above all and particularly back in France.
Dyke said: “We are all waiting until Monday to see what the judgment was. It is a strange situation where the decision is announced but we don’t know the reasoning. Any appeal will be decided by others on Monday, not by me. It is a possibility.
“We will look at the whole thing again once this one has been done. This was not an easy case, because for most people in England that sign meant nothing. It’s only what it meant in France that became important, so I we will look at the judgement and will ask people do we think that’s fair or that we should change anything as a result of that.”
Dyke thought, however, that even as it stood the verdict sent out a strong message. He said: “It makes it clear that the FA is not prepared to tolerate things that could be of a racist nature but we have to see what the decision was.”
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