Updates from Tuesday, Feb. 25
The hearing into Nicolas Anelka's alleged "quenelle" gesture will begin on Tuesday, although media coverage of the meeting is expected to be thin, according to the Independent's Sam Wallace:
Anelka's quenelle case begins today: a private hearing at a secret location heard by an undisclosed 3-man board. That aside, completely open— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceIndy) February 25, 2014
West Brom have confirmed that Nicolas Anelka has denied a charge from the Football Association of making an “abusive” gesture and has requested a personal hearing.
They confirmed the news via their official Twitter account and also in a statement on the official club website:
Albion can confirm that Nicolas Anelka has denied an FA charge and requested a personal hearing.— WBAFCofficial (@WBAFCofficial) January 23, 2014
BBC's Richard Conway provided an update on Anelka's hearing:
The Football Association hearing to rule on Nicolas Anelka's 'quenelle' gesture is not likely to begin until the end of February.
The West Brom striker's legal team are expected to be given around three weeks in order to construct a defence.
The FA announced on Jan. 21 that it was charging Anelka for a “quenelle” gesture he is alleged to have made during West Brom's Premier League game against West Ham on Dec. 28.
It released a statement, which said:
It is alleged that, in the 40th minute of the fixture, Anelka made a gesture which was abusive and/or indecent and/or insulting and/or improper, contrary to FA Rule E3.
It is further alleged that this is an aggravated breach, as defined in FA Rule E3, in that it included a reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion or belief.
The former France international also questioned the FA's choice of expert for analysing the gesture, and this is the likely reason that he has asked for a personal hearing.
At 34 years old, former Arsenal, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Juventus striker Anelka does not have long left at the top level.
If he is given a lengthy ban by the FA, it could spell the end of his career as a player in the Premier League, with his West Brom contract due to expire in the summer. And having previously claimed he would like to retire at the club, he may opt to call it a day.
Anelka scored twice in the 3-3 draw against West Ham and played a starring role for his side that day, hinting that he does still have the ability to perform to the standard required.
It would be a shame if an illustrious career, which has taken in so many top sides and seen him win the Premier League and Champions League, were to end under a cloud of controversy, or with the player banned.