The English Football Association charged two players, Hull striker Yannick Sagbo and Queens Park Rangers’ defender Benoit Assou-Ekotto, for misconduct regarding comments they made on Twitter. The players had taken to their Twitter pages in support of Nicolas Anelka, who was fired by West Bromwich Albion last month after he made an arm gesture known as a “quenelle.”
From the Guardian:
The offensive salute came to prominence when the West Bromwich forward Nicolas Anelka made the arm gesture when celebrating a goal against West Ham on 28 December. An independent regulatory commission last month 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 a friend of his, the French comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, who has been convicted seven times of antisemitic crimes.
The FA released a statement on its Web site regarding the charges.
“Having considered the particular facts of each case extremely carefully in consultation with our appointed expert, The FA has on Tuesday charged Mr Assou-Ekotto and Mr Sagbo with improper conduct contrary to FA Rule E3 in relation to their postings on Twitter.
It is alleged that in each case the comment was abusive and/or indecent and/or insulting and/or improper, contrary to Rule E3(1). It is further alleged that each players’ breach of Rule E3(1) was an “Aggravated Breach” as defined in Rule E3(2), as the comment included a reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion or belief.
Both players have until April 8 2014 to respond to the charges.”
The UK Telegraph reports that the duo face a minimum of a five-game ban because of the tweets, but Rob Harris of the Associated Press counters that they may only face fines.
Turns out Sagbo & Assou-Ekotto might only be fined by FA. Minimum 5-game racism ban doesn’t apply to all social media disciplinary cases— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) April 1, 2014
Given the uproar surrounding the gesture, the charges were met with little surprise.
Yannick Sagbo faces an FA charge for his tweet about Anelka’s quenelle gesture. Didn’t think that would go unnoticed. #hcafc— Rick City AFC (@HullCityLive) April 1, 2014