Nicolas Anelka will miss at least five matches for West Bromwich Albion unless he comes up with a strong defense for his ‘quenelle’ salute, as the French striker was officially charged by the FA on Monday.
Facing a controversy notable not merely for the gesture’s racist connotations but also the way both West Brom and the FA have handled it, Anelka has until Thursday to respond to the charge.
The fallout has been widespread, and team shirt sponsor Zoopla has announced they’ll step away from doing business with the team at the end of the year. Meanwhile, everyone from anti-racist organizations to West Brom board members themselves are speaking out on the issue.
The FA called the quenelle “an aggravated breach in that it included a reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion or belief.”
Groups like Kick It Out have taken shots at the FA for their speed in addressing the issue, while at least one has supported them in indicating trust that they’ll properly take care of the issue.
Meanwhile, Sky Sports has this in-house quote from The Hawthorns:
Alan Cleverley, secretary of the West Bromwich Albion Official Supporters’ Club, said if Anelka is found guilty by the FA, he “deserves everything he gets”.
He added: “You can’t go on doing that. It sounds as if he did it on purpose because he knew the match was being shown live in France. So if the book gets thrown at him, I’ve got no sympathy whatsoever for him.”
Anelka played in the Baggies 1-1 draw versus Everton on Monday (pictured above). West Brom’s next five matches are away to Aston Villa, home to Liverpool, away to Crystal Palace and then home to Chelsea and Fulham.
Newcastle United’s horror start under Steve McClaren just got worse.
Magpies No. 1 goalkeeper Tim Krul is on duty with the Netherlands, and was forced from the Dutch’s 2-1 win at Kazakhstan in Euro qualifying action.
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Krul left the game after landing awkwardly on his knee, and left the stadium on crutches.
Newcastle’s back-up keepers are Karl Darlow, new from Nottingham Forest, and veteran Rob Elliot.
The Magpies are in 20th place, without a win through eight Premier League matches.
McClaren’s crew just finished a brutal run of matches that saw Newcastle face Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United.
Italy took a 1-0 lead over Azerbaijan through the in-form Eder in the 11th minute, but the true leg-work (see what I did there) came from bite-sized midfielder Marco Verratti.
The PSG playmaker pinged a beautiful long ball over the top of the Azerbaijan defense that fell right at the feet of Eder, who let the ball settle itself and touched home confidently past Kamran Arhayev for a 1-0 lead.
The goal is the second of Eder’s national career in just five caps, having scored on debut against Bulgaria back in March. He has six goals in seven matches for Sampdoria so far this Serie A season.
Italy needs three points in this match to ensure qualification to Euro 2016. A win would guarantee them a place in the field, while anything less would mean there is work to do in the final match on Tuesday against Norway.
Later in the match, Stephan El Shaarawy gave Italy a 2-1 lead just before halftime, his second career international goal and his first since September of 2012 which came in his third career start.