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Dec 29, 2013

Anelka defends gesture on Twitter

West Bromwich striker Nicolas Anelka claims there was no anti-Semitic intent behind his controversial gesture in the 3-3 draw with West Ham on Saturday.

After Anelka made the "quenelle" gesture -- interpreted by some as an inverted Nazi salute -- by putting his arm across his body. The FA is looking into the incident which could see the former France international facing a possible five-match ban should he be found guilty of a racial abuse under tough new rules brought in last May.

However, on Sunday, Anelka again insisted the gesture was merely a tribute to his friend, French comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala.

"(The) meaning of quenelle: anti-system," he wrote. "I do not know what the word ‘religion’ has to do with this story! This is a dedication to Dieudonné. With regard to the ministers who give their own interpretations of my quenelle, they are the ones that create confusion and controversy without knowing what it really means, this gesture.

"I ask people not to be duped by the media. And of course, I am neither racist nor anti-Semitic and I fully assume (stand by) my gesture.”

West Brom head coach Keith Downing had said after the game that the allegations against Anelka were “absolute rubbish”.

“I'm aware of it but it has got nothing to do with what is being said,” Downing said when asked about the gesture. “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.

“He is totally unaware of what the problems were or the speculation that has been thrown around. He is totally surprised by it.”

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

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