Benoît Assou-Ekotto suspended for three matches over quenelle tweet
Benoît Assou-Ekotto has been suspended for three matches and fined £50,000 after the Tottenham Hotspur defender was found guilty of improper conduct for a tweet relating to the quenelle gesture performed by Nicolas Anelka in December 2013.
The Cameroon international, who was on a season-long loan at Queens Park Rangers at the time of the tweet, was also warned as to his future conduct and ordered to complete a compulsory education course. He was also ordered to pay the full costs of the hearing.
Anelka made the arm gesture when celebrating a goal for West Bromwich Albion against West Ham United on 28 December 2013.
An independent regulatory commission banned the former France international for five matches after finding the gesture “did contain a reference to antisemitism” in that it is strongly associated with the French comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, a friend of Anelka, who has been convicted seven times of antisemitic crimes.
West Brom eventually sacked the Frenchman for gross misconduct and he has since joined Mumbai City in the Indian Super League.
Assou-Ekotto went on Twitter after Anelka’s salute to post what translates from French as “I congratulate you on the beautiful quenelle”.
The charge was that the comment was abusive and/or indecent and/or insulting and/or improper, according to the FA, that included a reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion or belief.
The chairman of the regulatory commission, Peter Griffiths QC, said in delivering the decision: “Even though we have found that there was an aggravated breach of FA [rules] we are satisfied that when the player sent the tweet on 28 December 2013 congratulating Anelka, in his mind he believed he was congratulating Anelka on what he perceived to be an anti-establishment gesture as opposed to one associated with antisemitism.
“But we are also satisfied of two further factors relevant to his culpability: 1) That he was certainly aware before he sent the tweet that the quenelle gesture was very much associated with Dieudonné; and 2) That he had, by then, acquired at least some knowledge of the controversies surrounding Dieudonné in the autumn of 2013 and that these had included, rightly or wrongly, allegations concerning antisemitism.”
Hull City’s Yannick Sagbo was banned in June for two matches for a tweet the striker sent supporting Anelka’s use of the quenelle.
From the Guardian