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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Anelka's 'quenelle' hearing to begin

The disciplinary hearing into West Bromwich Albion striker Nicolas Anelka’s “quenelle” gesture is to begin on Tuesday.

Nicolas Anelka celebrates after scoring at West Ham with a controversial 'quenelle' gesture, which is alleged to be anti-Semitic.
Nicolas Anelka insists his gesture was not anti-Semitic.

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Anelka performed the controversial celebration, which is alleged to carry anti-Semitic connotations, during his side’s 3-3 draw with West Ham United on Dec. 28.

The former France international was charged last month under the Football Association's new anti-discrimination rules and faces a minimum five-match ban if found guilty.

The FA has charged the 34-year-old with an aggravated offence after making a gesture that was judged to be “abusive and/or indecent and/or insulting and/or improper.”

Anelka, who requested a personal hearing, has repeatedly denied the salute was anti-Semitic and insisted it was merely a tribute to his friend, French comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, who invented the gesture. He wrote on Facebook last month that he felt the FA should “remove the charges it has levelled” because the expert it had consulted was not “French, living in France” and so did not have “an accurate knowledge of [his] actions.”

The striker has not appeared for West Brom since bring substituted with a shin injury during the 4-3 defeat to Aston Villa on Jan. 29.

UEFA is currently dealing with a similar case after Belgian player Omar Rahou allegedly made a “quenelle” gesture in a European futsal championship last month.

The European governing body’s president, the Frenchman Michel Platini, has said his organisation will take “firm decisions on that -- zero tolerance,” adding: “Any display of racism on a UEFA pitch will be sanctioned and penalised.”

Information from the Press Association was used in this report

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