West Brom will now launch their own investigation, believing the image of the club has been damaged by Anelka’s actions.
The club said in a statement: “West Bromwich Albion treats very seriously any allegation which includes any reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion and/or belief.
“Upon both charges being proven, the club has suspended Nicolas Anelka pending the conclusion of the FA’s disciplinary process and the club’s own internal investigation.
“The club acknowledges that the FA panel ‘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’.
“However, the club cannot ignore the offence that his actions have caused, particularly to the Jewish community, nor the potential damage to the club’s reputation.”
A three-day FA hearing judged that Anelka had not been deliberately racist, although his gesture is regarded as being anti-Semitic, and he was given only the minimum suspension plus an £80,000 fine.
West Brom’s main sponsors Zoopla were so angered by Anelka’s goal ‘ celebration’ against West Ham that they refused to renew their £3m deal.
West Bromwich Albion treats very seriously any allegation which includes any reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion and/or belief
Anelka, 34, has also been ordered to complete a compulsory education course.
He has the right to an appeal once he has seen the FA’s judgement.
West Brom are in relegation trouble and the future of their new manager Pepe Mel is already in doubt.
Anelka, who only joined this season and has made little impact apart from the quenelle row, will miss important games against Manchester United, Swansea, Hull, Cardiff and Norwich unless he appeals.
Anelka denied the charge and appointed top QC Pushpinder Saini to defend him. He paid for his own defence and also has to pay the costs of the hearing plus the fine, the total bill being around £200,000.
The FA have pledged to get tough on racism issues, but Anelka appears to have got off lightly.
The FA’s three-man independent commission agreed that Anelka is not anti-semitic but that the gesture, which has been described as a Nazi salute in reverse, was racist.
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Luis Suarez and John Terry were banned in 2012 for racially abusing opponents and Anelka’s suspension is the minimum in FA regulations regarding racially aggravated offences.
Anelka was charged in January and the FA commission said the two charges Anelka faced – that the gesture was abusive and/or indecent and/or insulting and/or improper, and that it included a reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion or belief – were proven.
The FA commission said: “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.”
Anelka inists the gesture was a show of support for his friend, French comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala.
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