Benoit Assou-Ekotto 'disappointed' by FA charge over 'quenelle' row
Queens Park Rangers defender Benoit Assou-Ekotto says he is "disappointed" to have been charged by the Football Association for commenting on Nicolas Anelka's 'quenelle' gesture.
Assou-Ekotto and Hull striker Yannick Sagbo were charged with misconduct over comments made on social media sites.
Anelka made the gesture after scoring for West Brom at West Ham in December.
He was banned for five games after an independent commission ruled the sign contained an anti-Semitic reference.
What is a quenelle gesture?
- It is a hand gesture devised by French comedian Dieudonne M'bala M'bala (above left with Anelka), who says it is an anti-establishment symbol
- However, many view it as an anti-Semitic gesture, reminiscent of the Nazi salute
- People have been photographed making the sign at synagogues and Holocaust sites
Former France international striker Anelka, who is no longer at West Brom, said made the salute in support of his friend, the controversial French comedian Dieudonne M'bala M'bala, who has seven times been convicted of anti-Semitic crimes.
Assou-Ekotto, on loan at QPR from Tottenham, told the Press Association: "I am disappointed to have been charged by the Football Association with misconduct in respect of my use of Twitter but I am grateful that as part of this process I will be able to present my case to them.
"I would like to reassure the fans of both Tottenham and QPR, along with the football community generally, that I condemn discrimination and racism in any form.
"During my seven years as a player at Tottenham, my record of engaging with the diverse local community and my strong stance on anti-racism issues speaks for itself.
"I am proud that the work undertaken by my foundation in educating young people has as its cornerstone inclusion and respect for diversity."
The 30-year-old added: "I will not be making any further comment in respect of these issues whilst the Football Association's disciplinary proceedings are ongoing but would like to thank all of those people who have provided me with messages of support since the charge was confirmed by the Football Association."
West Brom sacked Anelka for "gross misconduct" on 14 March - just hours after he took to Twitter claiming he had decided to terminate his contract - once it was confirmed neither he nor the FA would contest the ban.
The governing body had argued for a more severe sanction and on Tuesday confirmed action against Assou-Ekotto and Sagbo
Manchester City's Samir Nasri was handed a formal warning for comments he made on social media relating to the gesture and Liverpool's Mamadou Sakho was reminded of his responsibilities.