Nicolas Anelka has said his "quenelle" goal celebration was not anti-Semitic. (AFP Photo/Ian Kington)
West Bromwich Albion striker Nicolas Anelka has requested that the English Football Association drop charges against him related to the Frenchman's controversial "quenelle" goal celebration, a gesture which has anti-Semitic and racist connotations.
The "quenelle" gesture, which is a sort of upside-down Nazi salute, is the trademark of French comedian Dieudonné M'bala M'bala, a friend of Anelka's. The comedian refers to the "quenelle" as an anti-establishment symbol, but his links to anti-Semitism have drawn the ire of the French government, which has attempted to clamp down on Dieudonné's performances.
Anelka -- who made the gesture after scoring against West Ham last month -- claimed he did it in support of the comedian.
If convicted by the FA, Anelka will receive a minimum five-match ban. He was officially charged on Tuesday.