English soccer league to probe alleged anti-Semitic gesture by French star

West Bromwich Albion striker Nicolas Anelka made controversial "quenelle" signal during team's 3-3 draw at West Ham.

Nicolas Anelka. (photo credit: Reuters)
Nicolas Anelka.
(photo credit: Reuters)

The governing body of English soccer is to investigate an alleged anti-Semitic gesture made by WestBromwich Albion striker Nicolas Anelka during Saturday's 3-3 Premier League draw at West Ham United.

A spokesman for the Football Association said his organization would be launching a probe afterAnelka's actions provoked widespread criticism.

The former France striker marked the first of his two goalsagainst West Ham with an apparent "quenelle" hand signal made famousby French comedian Dieudonne M'bala M'bala that is linked to anti-Semitism.

"Anelka's gesture is a shocking provocation, disgusting," saidFrench Sports Minister Valerie Fourneyron on his Twitter feed. "There'sno place for anti-Semitism on the football field."

France is considering banning performances by Dieudonna, the black comedian whose shows have repeatedly insulted the memory of Holocaust victims and could threaten public order, Interior Minister Manuel Valls said on Friday.

He said his ministry is studying legal ways to ban shows by Dieudonna, a comedian repeatedly fined for hate speech who ran in the 2009 European Parliament elections at the head of an "Anti-Zionist List" including far-right activists.

Valls announced the move after Jewish groups complained to President Francois Hollande about Dieudonne's trademark straight-arm gesture, which they call a "Nazi salute in reverse" and link to a growing frequency of anti-Semitic remarks and acts in France.