The Football Association has been blasted in the House of Commons for a “pathetically spineless” response to West Bromwich Albion striker Nicolas Anelka's “quenelle” gesture.
Labour MP John Cryer called for fellow MPs to be given the chance to debate racism and anti-Semitism during the weekly business statement by Commons Leader Andrew Lansley.
Anelka, 34, has been banned for five matches and fined 80,000 pounds for making the gesture, which has been described as anti-Semitic, during a goal celebration against West Ham on Dec. 28.
Leyton and Wanstead MP Cryer said: “Could we have a debate on racism and in particular anti-Semitism? I am thinking of the repellent behaviour of Nicolas Anelka and the pathetically spineless response of the Football Association, which reminds us that racism is always there and will always require vigilance.”
Lansley replied: “You make an important point to which I completely agree. I can't promise a debate immediately but I know as we had debates coincide with Holocaust Memorial Day earlier this year, so I hope we will continue to have an opportunity for the House to debate its sense of the abhorrence of racism, and our determination to tackle it wherever we see its ugly head.”
The FA has yet to decide whether to appeal against its own disciplinary panel's verdict on Anelka, but could push for the striker to serve more than a five-match ban.