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MARTIN SAMUEL: Dithering FA likes its bogeymen to be black and white, but they must show more spine and throw book at Anelk | Mail Online

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Dithering FA likes its bogeymen to be black and white, but they must show more spine and throw book at Anelka FA would have suspended John Terry or Luis Suarez for 'quenelle' gesture Smalling has suffered far too much abuse for 'Jagerbomber' outfit Fowler should not be made the poster boy for homophobia in football Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fell for Vincent Tan's act
tiffany By
Martin Samuel

Tiffany Blue Wedding
PUBLISHED:
23:00 GMT, 12 January 2014
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UPDATED:
07:36 GMT, 13 January 2014

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Tiffany The Football Association have now appointed an expert to look into Nicolas Anelka’s quenelle gesture. Maybe it is the one notionally engaged by comedian Jerry Sadowitz for a rare appearance on national television. ‘Tonight on the show that tackles the real issues,’ Sadowitz began. ‘Jews and Nazis — so who’s right?’ Tiffany Sale The FA would seem to have a problem with this question, too, if they are having to recruit an expert to assess whether a salute that is increasingly performed outside Holocaust memorials, on the sites of concentration camps and at the gates of the Jewish school in Toulouse where three children and a teacher were murdered at point-blank range by Islamist gunman Mohammed Merah in 2012, has anti-Semitic connotations. Tiffany Blue Wedding West Brom striker Anelka performed his quenelle celebration in a match on December 28 and the FA say they will not decide on a charge, let alone any sanction, until January 20 at the earliest. Not that they are hoping it will all go away, of course. If that was Luis Suarez, if that was John Terry?  Tiffany Blue Wedding VIDEO: Scroll down to watch Nicolas Anelka's 'quenelle' celebration
Controversial: Nicolas Anelka makes the 'quenelle' celebration after scoring against West Ham
Storm: Anelka said he was honouring the French comic Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala (above)


 
 
More from Martin Samuel...
 
MARTIN SAMUEL: Ferguson never ditched his best player... neither should you, Andy
14/01/14
 
MARTIN SAMUEL: Dithering FA likes its bogeymen to be black and white, but they must show more spine and throw book at Anelka
12/01/14
 
MARTIN SAMUEL: This is getting ridiculous. Hapless Hammers could sleepwalk over a cliff again
09/01/14
 
MARTIN SAMUEL: Anelka should be banned for 16 games... this was twice as harmful as Suarez baiting Evra or Terry targeting Anton when you consider the thought behind it
29/12/13
 
MARTIN SAMUEL: Tottenham are struggling to replace AVB, and is it any wonder? Top managers will shun owners on an ego trip
22/12/13
 
MARTIN SAMUEL: Sam's second-string plan is making West Ham dreams fade and die
17/12/13
 
MARTIN SAMUEL: Australia are drinking in the atmosphere after Ashes triumph... but despite desperate defeat we can't call time on this England side
17/12/13
 
MARTIN SAMUEL: AVB was the man who knew too little. He was sitting on two barrels of dynamite once Spurs sold Bale
16/12/13
 
MARTIN SAMUEL: Money-mad Aussies have sold their soul by relegating the iconic WACA
15/12/13
 
VIEW FULL ARCHIVE
 
Really, 23 days? They would have been charged, tried and weighed off almost before the first tweet had arrived from France explaining la quenelle and its spiteful message. The FA likes its racist bogeymen to be black and white. Anelka’s behaviour is more subtle, more layered, which is why its influence is insidious and its eradication requires greater spine. And that has never been the FA’s strongest suit. Meanwhile, in France, the comedian who popularised la quenelle, Dieudonne M’Bala M’Bala — who has 10 convictions, mostly for incitement to hatred about Jews, so let’s not pretend that Anelka did not know what he was doing — has been banned from performing a show in Nantes. Manuel Valls, interior minister, said Dieudonne’s act was no longer artistic or comic but resembled an extreme political rally and was cancelled on the grounds it could lead to criminal offences. There is no precedent for this in France and government intervention has divided society. As disappointed fans trudged away, who did they blame? The Jews. The FA are in a quandary because Anelka said his quenelle gesture was simply in support of his comedian friend and because other footballers have been caught on camera performing it; Samir Nasri, for instance, who parroted Dieudonne’s defence that it was not anti-Semitic, but a statement of rebellion against the system. So exactly what system is Nasri taking against? He draws his wages from Manchester City, owned by Sheik Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who sits on the International Petroleum Investment Company, has 32 per cent of Virgin Galactic, 9.1 per cent of Daimler and helped set up Sky News Arabia with those noted anti-establishment figures, BSkyB. In 2008, the Abu Dhabi Investment Company of which Sheik Mansour is a board member bought 90 per cent of a quite gorgeous Art Deco monument to American capitalism, the Chrysler Building. Maybe it is the system of contracts that Nasri is rebelling against, considering he has never been too keen on honouring his once a richer guy comes along. Or maybe he hasn’t a clue and is barely cognisant that the system that Dieudonne rails against is the one in which the people are suppressed by a global conspiracy of big business orchestrated by men with big noses. The real problem the FA seem to have is that, as a black Muslim, Anelka is not the standard race offender. Witness the way Michael Johnson’s aversion to homosexuality was handled with kid gloves by the FA’s inclusion advisory board. Having appointed the former Birmingham player to its panel, the FA then discovered that Johnson, as a practising Christian, had referred to homosexuality as ‘detestable unto the Lord’ in a 2012 interview. Following his resignation, chair and FA board member Heather Rabbatts chose not to admit a giant personal blunder or even condemn Johnson, but said instead that he still had ‘vital expertise’, described his decision to step down as ‘unfortunate’ and said he would still be consulted on a regular basis. Well, you can’t say she’s not inclusive.  
Watch: Nicolas Anelka's alleged racist goal celebration
Altercation: Liverpool's Luis Suarez (left) was banned for eight games for racially abusing Patrice Evra

Suspended: John Terry was banned for four games when he was found guilty of abusing Anton Ferdinand
Caught: Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri (left) was also snapped doing the 'quenelle' celebration

It is very easy to nail white guys for using the N-word, or produce a fresh round of T-shirts denouncing homophobia, but what if the FA’s appointed quenelle expert starts introducing Palestine or freedom-of-expression issues to the debate? That’s when an organisation needs to see through the fog. Police are already investigating anti-Semitic messages posted after Arsenal’s FA Cup match with Tottenham. Society is not so civilised that it cannot be influenced by some pretty base rhetoric. Why does Anelka’s action matter? Well, imagine if, instead of calling Patrice Evra some pretty horrid names, Suarez had instead chosen to unveil a vest with the message ‘White Power’ each time he scored. Right there is the difference: a contained exchange of words, unpleasant but going nowhere, versus a message intended to reach and influence a wider audience. If Hitler had simply walked the street shouting abuse at Jews, he would be remembered as a very nasty piece of work in the city  of Munich, but probably not as the architect of a European holocaust. It is when you seek to amplify a divisive message, to broadcast it, to inspire similar thoughts and actions in others, that the narrative takes its most sinister turn. And for that piece of unsolicited, inexpert advice, Mr Dyke, no charge. Now please do your job.
Shock: Chris Smalling was pictured wearing a 'Jagerbomber' outfit at a fancy-dress party
Moral monstering of Smalling While reading this, you may be dressed as a suicide bomber. And there really is no problem with that providing you are a) not about to commit an act of murderous barbarism, or b) in the privacy of your own home. Obviously, don’t act on maniacal impulses or take to the streets. Just walking around in public dressed as a terrorist would make it a different issue entirely. Our security forces are stretched enough already without cutting-edge costumiers testing their resources to the limit. In private, however, be what you want to be, outfit-wise. A policeman, a pirate, a milk maid, Saddam Hussein’s little brother. It’s a free country. Close the door and Mr Benn it up. This brings us to Chris Smalling of Manchester United, who was widely castigated last week for dressing as a disciple of Al Qaeda at a fancy dress party held at his home. Actually, it was a little more complex than that. Smalling’s full outfit included empty bottles of the liqueur digestif Jagermeister, cans of Red Bull, an Arab headdress, a mock circuit board and cables. He was — wait for it — a Jagerbomber. (For those with more traditional beverage preferences, a Jagerbomb is a mixed drink made by dropping a shot of Jagermeister into a glass of Red Bull.) So that’s quite a good joke, actually. A visual pun, and some pretty nifty word play. Smalling was bright enough to earn a place at Loughborough University reading financial economics before his present profession intervened, and it shows. Footballers’ parties are well known for dubious taste but comically edgy flights of fantasy not so much. And whether you are amused or not, Smalling never intended his gag to pass beyond the four walls of a private address. Somehow it did — and as we live in the age of unending moral judgment, Smalling was found wanting. The victims of terror, or their families, were wheeled out to condemn his act as crass and hurtful, as if any insult could make worse their particular injury and Smalling was branded the stereotypical thick footballer, which he is plainly not. It is a curse, this prurience, this constant desire for outrage over innocent intentions. You are entitled, in your own house, to dress how you like. Just don’t blow up a train.
Day job: Smalling (left) helped Manchester United beat Swansea in the Premier League on Saturday
Big mistake to make Fowler the No 1 villain Robbie Fowler is now the poster boy for homophobia in football. Each time the subject is raised, he is wheeled out due to his very public taunting of Graeme Le Saux during a match between Liverpool and Chelsea in 1999. The same reports often contrast Fowler negatively with David Beckham’s status as a gay icon. It is widely agreed that Beckham’s approach, including posing for the cover of Attitude magazine, was ground-breaking. Worth remembering, then, that Le Saux also claimed being abused with homophobic language by Paul Ince, Robbie Savage and, yes, on an isolated occasion, Beckham, too. So this is not about good guys and bad guys, picking out one individual like Fowler, who clearly regrets his behaviour, and making him the villain for all time. Competitive people attempt to gain a psychological advantage. There are, no doubt, some who are also prejudiced, but there are others who will merely use whatever they can if it is to their benefit. That unfeeling ruthlessness is what must change and it is not merely an issue for the gay community.
Unfair: Former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler has been made the poster boy for homophobia in football
 
Professor Gordon Mackay, a surgeon based in Scotland, says he can get Theo Walcott fit in time for the World Cup. No thanks. As much of a loss as Walcott’s absence will be, better to plan without him rather than spend another tournament with fingers crossed on the off chance. That backfired horribly in the case of Wayne Rooney in 2006 and didn’t truly work for David Beckham in 2002. And they were far harder to replace than Walcott. And while we're at it Well, it worked. Vincent Tan left his ill-fitting red replica shirt at home, donned a nice blue jumper, stopped booing his Cardiff City players and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fell for it. He accepted the job, endorsed his new employer, spent a little more of his money — and promptly lost his first home game, to West Ham United. Meanwhile, as predicted, Tan is withholding a legitimate pay-off to former Cardiff manager Malky Mackay over some specious rubbish about his signings not working out: most particularly Andreas Cornelius, a 20-year-old Dane who is yet to make an impression at the club despite costing £7.6million.
New man: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was convinced to take over at Cardiff but promptly lost his first home game
As Solskjaer knows, football can be like that. He has now signed a teenager, Mats Moller Daehli, from Molde in Norway for £2.5m. Will Daehli succeed? There is no guarantee. ‘You see Samir Nasri and David Silva, in a few years you never know where Mats might end up,’ said Solskjaer. Indeed you don’t. Equally, you see Jack Rodwell and Scott Sinclair going nowhere at Manchester City and that can happen, too. The transfer market is no exact science, particularly for youngsters. Still, Solskjaer at least knows what he has to look forward to if Daehli flops and his own time at Cardiff comes to an end. As Jack tells Liz, and her unsuitable boyfriend Dennis, in the first season of 30 Rock: ‘I’ll leave you two to your meal. Enjoy the choices that you’ve made.’
He talks a good game: Cardiff owner Vincent Tan (left) convinced Solskjaer to take over at the Welsh club
Athletics gave up on grassroots long ago The conservative estimate is 10,000 down. The most alarming speculation places the figure at nearer 40,000. Either way, it is widely agreed that volunteer coaches in athletics are deserting en masse. Hence the anger directed at Niels de Vos, chief executive of UK Athletics, whose pay soared by £93,788 in 2012-13. ‘How can De Vos receive a 55 per cent rise when we are losing voluntary coaches every year due to a lack of funds?’ asked Goldie Sayers, the British javelin record-holder. Simple, really. UK Athletics is no longer about the grassroots and hasn’t been for some time. It is concerned with elite performance and if this means it has to import its athletes from the Caribbean or the lesser ranks of USA Track and Field, it really doesn’t care. No volunteer coaches were required to produce Tiffany Porter or Delano Williams and if this new breed of British athlete lands medals, the end justifies the means.
Fair? UK Athletics' chief executive Niels de Vos (second left) saw his salary soar by more than £93,000
De Vos and his allies did not care enough to protect grassroots British competitors from being usurped, so why should they care for anonymous volunteers? The chief executive’s rewards are now linked to a chilling short-term mentality and the pity is so many stood idle and watched this unfold. Now it is too late.  
Luis Antonio Valencia's goal against Swansea City was just what David Moyes needed. It did, however, also remind us of one of the main reasons Manchester United are struggling to revisit past glories. Valencia was bought to replace Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009, yet this was his first Premier League goal at Old Trafford since Boxing Day 2011 and his 20th in all competitions for the club since making his debut. In that time, Ronaldo has scored for Real Madrid on 204 occasions. It’s not all about Moyes, this.
Long time coming: Luis Antonio Valencia scores against Swansea in Manchester United's victory
 
One moment they were at daggers drawn, the next Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino had called a truce and was open to the thought of Mark Clattenburg refereeing his players again. How bizarre. It was almost as if his heart wasn’t in the fight; almost as if it wasn’t really his fight at all.
 
More...
FA appoint expert to assist with ongoing investigation into Anelka 'quenelle' salute
Comic at centre of Anelka 'quenelle' storm banned from performing in Nantes
I won't do it again! Anelka finished with controversial 'quenelle' celebration
Anelka facing minimum five-match ban for 'anti-Semitic gesture' under new FA rules



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Comments ( 117 )
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Pene Al Dente,
Delphia, Antarctica,
2 days ago

Martin Samuel is spot on.
8
5
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Ironman,
Prague, Czech Republic,
2 days ago

Interesting that you dismiss Suarez's racial abuse as 'unpleasant but going nowhere' yet imply Anelka's actions were so much worse. I am a teacher and I can assure you that kids idolise these footballers and want to imitate them to the nth degree. Fair enough no footballer asked to be a role model but nevertheless they are to millions of impressionable kids who believe 'that's what ...Suarez, Rooney, Terry etc do so thats what i will do' (this applies equally to diving and swearing - which is why Pardew deserves a ban).
Anelka's actions were cowardly and crass but lets not use that to downgrade what Suarez and Terry did!
PS: Why the need to mention Anelka's religion? - as witnessed around the globe any religion is perfectly capable of racism
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Drumboe,
Copenhagen, United Kingdom,
2 days ago

Terry was found not guilty and Suarez used a term thats not offensive in his own country so stop using Suarez and Terry as red herrings, Anelka knew exactly what he was doing and it probably stems from his time in Bolton were he became "religious".
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Bill,
Barnsley,
2 days ago

What tangled webs we weave. Black racists, Muslim anti-Semites, homophobic gay icons and poor old Robbie Fowler. I liked it better when it was just about football.
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Hilly,
Auckland, NZ,
2 days ago

I get offended every time frank Lampard, Sturbridge, etc make religious gestures every time they score and every time a Muslim pray to Allah on the pitch. Why is this any different.
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The_Fact_Controller,
Liverpool, United Kingdom,
2 days ago

Exactly who decided that Anelka's gesture and Smalling's costume are unacceptable and on what grounds? If we carry on like this we can kiss goodbye to free speech and all the other freedoms which come with it. It seems to me that this tide of intolerance is being driven by the media.
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Philip,
Merseyside,
3 days ago

Those of us involved in grass roots athletics predicted back in 2008 there would be no Olympic legacy and that the burden of funding the sport would fall on us not on overpaid administrators who are not involved in the sport at our level. It gives us no pleasure to know we were right.
As for Anelka I had no idea what was going on until it was played up by the media (as was Suarez) but I am of the opinion that Suarez would have been banned for the rest of the season and Terry would have got away with it 'in the context of the game'. Don't forget Mark Bosnich was fined and censured for giving a Nazi salute at a Tottenham match. A similar approach would be appropriate in this case. I doubt Anelka will repeat the offence.
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harrythemanc,
Manchester, England,
3 days ago

Clearly Anelkas actions were unacceptable. Just because no one knew what it meant does not make it any less detestable. If anything it makes it even more cynical and more deserving of punishment. Throw the kitchen sink at him. It would be a fitting book end to the career of a talented sportsman, whos career has been littered with examples of poor judgement and bad decision making.
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Jem07,
London, United Kingdom,
3 days ago

perhaps for u but what about people who lost family to the nazi's then u have this evil man making those gestures u would probably feel differently
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Jonathan159,
Nth London, United Kingdom,
3 days ago

Most definitely anti semitic and unacceptable - no different than if he had done a nazi salute - someones own personal views are their own but bringing it into sport has to be dealt with strongly.
If the quenelle had a different meaning such as a code for the world wide implementation of sharia law I am certain that many of the commentators currently condoning his actions would feel very differently. However it seems that abuse aimed at jews is considered acceptable !
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LORNAO,
LONDON, United Kingdom,
3 days ago

If I was in the crowd and pictured holding an imaginery roll of inverted Axminster under each arm, I would hope that I would be assigned an expert as well before plod and the inevitable FBO came in from all quarters:)
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