Following his first two Premier League goals since 2011, West Bromwich Albion striker Nicholas Anelka should have been celebrating a good day at the office following his sides 3-3 draw at West Ham on Saturday.
However now he’s having to defend himself, as controversy hangs over the Frenchman following what looked like a ‘quenelle’ salute, made famous by French comedian Dieudonne and linked to anti-Semitism.
After the match, the Baggies caretaker manager Keith Downing said the striker was merely paying homage to his friend and the gesture wasn’t anything but a tribute to Dieudonne.
“I’m aware of it but it has got nothing to do what is being said,” Downing said when asked about the incident. “It is dedicated to a French comedian he knows very, very well. He uses it in his act and I think speculation can be stopped now, it is absolute rubbish really.”
Downing also revealed that Anelka has been taken back by the reaction to his gesture.
“He [ Anelka] is totally unaware of what the problems were or the speculation that has been thrown around, he is totally surprised by it.”
Following a huge number of complaints the English Football Association is investigating the gesture by Anelka and French sport Minister Valerie Fourneyron criticized the 34-year-old for his actions. While anti-discrimination body, Kick It Out, is in contact with their partners in England and France over the incident and offered support to the FA in its inquiries.