French sports minister denounces 'disgusting' Anelka gesture


French footballer Nicolas Anelka appeared to make an inverted Nazi salute, known as the 'quenelle', after scoring a goal for his English club.

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France's sports minister has accused Nicolas Anelka of a "disgusting anti-Semitic" goal celebration during West Brom's 3-3 draw at West Ham, reports BBC News.

Anelka, 34, made the 'quenelle' - described as an inverted Nazi salute.

The French government is trying to ban comedian Dieudonné M'bala M'bala's shows over his use of the gesture.

Albion said it was not an anti-Semitic act, but Sport Minister Valerie Fourneyron criticised Anelka, who is also being investigated by the FA.

Fourneyron wrote  : "Anelka's gesture is a shocking provocation, disgusting. There's no place for anti-Semitism on the football field."

But Anelka defended his action, saying:  "This gesture was a special dedication to my friend Dieudonne."

Albion caretaker manager Keith Downing said Anelka was "totally surprised" by the furore, despite the French government announcing on Friday that it was studying legal options to ban performances by Dieudonne.

"It has got nothing to do with what is being said," Downing said. "It is absolute rubbish."

Jewish groups had complained to French president Francois Hollande about Dieudonne's trademark gesture, which they described as a "Nazi salute in reverse". They linked it to increasing anti-Semitic remarks and acts in France.

In return Dieudonne has threatened to sue the groups for calling it a Nazi salute. He calls it "la quenelle" - a word for a fish dumpling - and says it stands for his anti-Zionist and anti-establishment views, rather than anti-Semitism.

Read more of this report from BBC News.

See also: French comic's show faces ban over anti-Semitic jibes

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