Nicholas Anelka’s past has come hunting in his latest endeavours.
The former Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea striker was appointed as an adviser by Eredivisie outfit Roda JC Kerkrade after a Swiss-Russian takeover was completed. The new owner Alexei Korotaev wants the Premier League legend to help as the new management seeks to stabilize things but Anelka’s past might be a stumbling block.
Dutch Jewish leaders reacted angrily to the former player’s appointment, considering his anti-semitic ‘quenelle’ gesture when he was with West Brom in 2013. Back then, following the outrage his actions generated, the ex-France international was fined £80,000 and subsequently banned for five games.
The Baggies could not manage the reactions, even though the FA disciplinary committee found him not guilty of promoting anti-semitism, so they fired him weeks later.
“This is a disgraceful matter. We can’t believe Roda JC are dealing with him. We’d like to tell Mister Anelka how shocking his quenelle gesture was towards Jewish people,” a Jewish leader Ron van der Wieken said.
Then, Anelka claimed he was not guilty, blaming the whole situation on a misunderstanding. He insists that he made the gesture in support of French comedian Dieudonne after scoring the goal against the Hammers.
“I have nothing against the Jews. It is an incident from three years ago. I went to court and I was cleared. I am not guilty. For me it is over,” Anelka insisted.
The retired star was a neighbour to Korotaev in Dubai as he managed players in Asia in his post football engagements. Since Korotaev took over the club, he has been funding plans that would restore the club as a major competitor. He claims he wants the club to play in the Champions League in five years, hence doing everything possible to make it a reality.