West Brom Sack Striker Anelka for Gross Misconduct

West Brom Sack Striker Anelka for Gross Misconduct

West Bromwich Albion have given French striker Nicolas Anelka notice they are terminating his contract for gross misconduct, the Premier League club said in a statement on Friday.

Anelka was originally banned for five matches in February for his use of a controversial ‘quenelle’ goal celebration, a gesture which was widely condemned as anti-Semitic.

The Football Association found the French striker guilty of an “aggravated breach” of FA rules which in turn saw him banned and fined £80,000 (97,468 euros; $133,368).

The West Bromwich Albion forward was also ordered to complete a “compulsory education course”.

Anelka made the ‘quenelle’, a gesture condemned in France as anti-Semitic, after scoring the first of his two goals in a 3-3 Premier League draw against West Ham at Upton Park on December 28. 

However, the 34-year-old Anelka denied the gesture was anti-Semitic or that he himself was a racist.

Anelka was due to start a five-match suspension after being punished for his controversial “quenelle” goal celebration but instead he has decided to terminate his contract with the Premier League club.

“Following discussions between the club and me, proposals have been made to me that I rejoined the group under certain conditions,” Anelka wrote on his official Twitter account.

“I cannot accept. Wishing to keep my integrity, so I decided to free myself and to terminate the contract linking me with West Bromwich Albion until 2014 as of now.”

Valérie Fourneyron, the Sports minister of France, said the quenelle gesture was an “incitation to racial hatred and sickening.”

AFP and Reuters contributed to this report