West Bromwich Albion’s Nicolas Anelka today called on the FA to drop his misconduct charge as he again insisted “I am not anti-Semitic or racist”.
The Albion star, who has until 6pm tomorrow to formally answer the charge over his controversial ‘quenelle’ celebration, claimed the FA’s expert had reached the wrong decision over the gesture.
The statement came as two more Baggies sponsors admitted they were considering their position as a result of the controversy.
Anelka, who was charged yesterday following the incident at West Ham on December 28, posted on his official Facebook page: “The English Football Association has hired an expert to decide the meaning of my quenelle.
“The latter concluded that my gesture was an anti-Semitic connotation, which led to my indictment by the FA.
“It would have been legitimate for this expert to have been French, living in France, to have an accurate knowledge of my actions.
“What better expert than Mr (Roger) Cukierman, president of CRIF (Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France), who explains very clearly that my quenelle could not be regarded as anti-Semitic!
“He also explained precisely and when the gesture could have such a connotation.
“I therefore ask that the English Federation kindly removes the charges alleged against me.
“And I repeat, I am not anti-Semitic or racist.”
The statement followed a tweet last night, in which Anelka posted a link to a video interview in which Mr Cukierman claimed the quenelle was only anti-Semitic if performed at sensitive location for Jews.
This video shows Roger Cukierman, president of French-based Jewish group CRIF speaking on the gesture in English.
Anelka’s statement did not confirm whether he plans to accept or contest the FA charge, but it was the strongest indication yet that he plans to fight the allegations.
Meanwhile, following principle sponsor Zoopla’s announcement this week that it will not renew its deal with Albion beyond this season, two more official partners today confirmed they are reviewing their position.
Marvin Troemer, a corporate communications spokesman for Albion ‘official partner’ Jack Wolfskin said the German outdoor clothing and equipment form is “following the developments closely but has not taken a decision yet.”
He added: "The FA is waiting for a statement of Nicolas Anelka before coming to a final judgment. We consider the charges as serious and strongly disapprove of any gestures or statements which are meant to discriminate a single person or a certain group of people.
"We are now awaiting the judgment of the Football Association before taking further steps.
"And depending on what our partner West Brom says, which measures they will take and considering our legal possibilities (contract) we would also consider to end our sponsorship as one option."
Holler Watches also said it was considering its next move.
Jewish comedian and writer David Baddiel spoke to BBC's Newsnight about the gesture last night. "Anelka seemed to be saying, 'no it's not anti-semitic, it's just a gesture in support of my friend the enormous anti-semite'," he said.