NICOLAS ANELKA HAS defended his controversial ‘quenelle’ celebration in West Brom’s 3-3 draw at West Ham on Saturday.
The Frenchman put his side 2-1 ahead at Upton Park, but courted controversy when celebrating his first with a gesture that has been linked to anti-establishment, but also alleged anti-Semitic, connotations in his homeland.
Anelka subsequently came in for criticism, with the Football Association confirming that that they will open an investigation into his actions.
Meanwhile, the European Jewish Congress have also called for the 34-year-old to be punished, describing his actions as “sickening” and “abusive”.
However, Anelka – who was defended after the match by West Brom’s interim coach Keith Downing – took to social media on Sunday to plead his innocence, blaming the media’s reaction for “duping” fans, and insisting that he meant no offence to anyone of Jewish faith.
He wrote on his official Twitter page: “Meaning of quenelle: anti-system. I do not know what the word religion has to do with this story!
“This celebration is a dedication to (friend and comedian) Dieudonne (M’bala M’bala).
“With regard to the Ministers who give their own interpretations of my actions, these are the ones who create the confusion and controversy without knowing what something really means! I shall therefore ask the people not to be duped by the media.
“And of course, I am neither anti-Semitic nor racist and I totally defend my gesture.”