With one swoop of a pen, Mumbai City FC courted controversy and added the biggest name in their extremely short history.
Nicolas Anelka signed for the Indian Super League club which is set to begin play in October, but he may have to wait to put on the jersey in an actual match; the English FA asked FIFA to extend Anelka’s quenelle suspension beyond Britain’s borders.
[ RELATED: Del Piero’s ISL signing raises political issues ]
He has five games left to serve on his suspension.
FIFA was unable to comment on Anelka’s playing status on Monday, which is a public holiday in its home city Zurich.
Anelka had a long career for France and played at Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain in a well-traveled club career. His most recent Premier League stint ended suddenly in March after he was suspended by the English FA for performing a gesture which is known in France as a “quenelle” and is regarded as anti-Semitic.
Anelka later announced, in French and via Twitter, that he was leaving West Brom and terminating his contract with immediate effect. The club responded by saying the player’s statement was invalid but that it was firing him for “gross misconduct.”
The ISL would do well to uphold his suspension without FIFA weighing in, but it remains to be seen how it all goes down for the new league.
Anelka’s just the latest name to join the 8-team ISL, with Alessandro Del Piero (Delhi Dynamos), David Trezeguet (Pune City) and David James (Kerala Blasters) signed up to play. James will also coach Kerala, while Inter Milan legend Marco Materazzi begins his management career with Chennai Titans.