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Nicolas Anelka accused of ‘anti-Semitic’ gesture during goal celebration (video)

West Bromwich Albion v Genoa - Pre Season Friendly

TELFORD, ENGLAND - AUGUST 01: Nicolas Anelka of West Bromwich Albion looks on during a Pre Season Friendly between West Bromwich Albion and Genoa at the New Bucks Head Stadium on August 1, 2013 in Telford, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

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Following his first two Premier League goals since 2011, West Bromwich Albion striker Nicholas Anelka should have been celebrating a good day at the office following his sides 3-3 draw at West Ham on Saturday.

However now he’s having to defend himself, as controversy hangs over the Frenchman following what looked like a ‘quenelle’ salute, made famous by French comedian Dieudonne and linked to anti-Semitism.

After the match, the Baggies caretaker manager Keith Downing said the striker was merely paying homage to his friend and the gesture wasn’t anything but a tribute to Dieudonne.

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

Downing also revealed that Anelka has been taken back by the reaction to his gesture.

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

Following a huge number of complaints the English Football Association is investigating the gesture by Anelka and French sport Minister Valerie Fourneyron criticized the 34-year-old for his actions. While anti-discrimination body, Kick It Out, is in contact with their partners in England and France over the incident and offered support to the FA in its inquiries.

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