Anelka to remain available for WBA
West Bromwich Albion have confirmed that Nicolas Anelka has agreed not to perform the controversial ‘quenelle’ goal celebration again and that the striker remains under consideration for selection.
The Football Association is currently investigating Anelka’s celebration during the 3-3 draw against West Ham United, and he could face a five-match ban if he is deemed guilty of racial abuse.
The former France international took to Twitter on Sunday to deny any anti-Semitic intent and said the gesture was merely a tribute to his friend, French comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala.
A statement on West Brom's official website on Monday read: “Nicolas was asked to explain his goal celebration by caretaker head coach Keith Downing within minutes of the game finishing at West Ham. Nicolas said that he performed the gesture to dedicate his goal to a friend and vehemently denied having any intention to cause offence.
“Upon reporting for training this morning, Nicolas was asked by sporting and technical director Richard Garlick to give a full explanation about his goal celebration, during which he again strongly denied intending to cause offence.
“The club fully acknowledges that Nicolas’ goal celebration has caused offence in some quarters and has asked Nicolas not to perform the gesture again. Nicolas immediately agreed to adhere to this request.
“The club is aware that the Football Association is investigating the matter and has offered its full co-operation. The club will continue to make its own enquiries -- a process which will remain confidential between the club and Nicolas.”
Albion insist they will continue to select the Frenchman until the FA reaches a decision.
The statement added: “Nicolas is eligible for matches whilst the FA carries out its investigation. Therefore, Nicolas will remain under consideration for first-team selection whilst the FA and club continue their enquiries.”
Anelka has only just returned to the starting lineup after a long absence and Downing is likely to include him in his squad for the New Year's Day visit to Newcastle United.