The better part of a month after his now-infamous quenelle gesture at Upton Park, the FA have charged West Bromwich Albion striker Nicolas Anelka with making an 'aggravated' abusive gesture. Their official statement can be read below:
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.
Anelka has until 6pm on 23 January 2014 to respond to the charge.
We've expected this for some time. Although the FA was putting off charging Anelka until they could get expert advice on the meanings and connotations of the quenelle, any defence seemed flimsy in the face of Anelka's statement that he performed the quenelle in support of a friend who's had repeated convictions for anti-Semitism.
West Brom shirt sponsor Zoopla have already (and perhaps cynically) confirmed that they will not be renewing their partnership at the end of the season over the incident, and now it seems as though Anelka will be facing a lengthy ban to boot -- a serious blow to Pepe Mel's striking corps considering Shane Long's just been sent off to Hull City on loan.