David Delew, Chief Executive of the Community Security Trust (CST):
Nicolas Anelka has rightly been found guilty of introducing an ugly antisemitic gesture into British football. We acknowledge Anelka’s denial of antisemitic intent, but his action was clear and the FA’s zero tolerance approach to racism meant there could be no other outcome. This verdict sends a strong message to Jewish players and supporters at all levels of the game that the FA will act against antisemitic acts if they are reported.
Vivian Wineman, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews:
We welcome the fact that the independent tribunal has decided that Mr Anelka was very clearly in breach of both regulations. This supports the FA’s decision to invoke its own regulations after its assiduous report concluded that Mr Anelka’s gesture had anti Semitic connotations and is highly offensive to Jews and right minded members of the public. We strongly feel that any behaviour on or off the pitch with racist connotations should be addressed with zero tolerance and should be kicked out by the football authorities. The message that this sends out is that football, as a responsible part of society, will not accept behaviour that is offensive to any group.
Simon Johnson, Chief Executive of the Jewish Leadership Council:
The conviction of Nicolas Anelka is a welcome outcome. It demonstrates that the FA’s processes are robust enough to deal with the most pernicious of racism cases. All those of us dedicated to defeating racism and discrimination throughout sport can take great confidence that, when put to the test, football’s anti-racism procedures stood up to the challenge.
Martin Berliner, Chief Executive of Maccabi GB:
Football, and sport in general, should not be a platform for any political or discriminatory views and we hope that the ban and fine given by the FA is a deterrent to sportspeople, public figures or anyone else in future who plans to display their negative views in this way. For too long, the Jewish community has accepted antisemitism in the sports arena, both at grass roots level and in the professional game. We urge people to report every incident to the CST and football authorities as this is the only way we will rid the game of this disease.
For further comment, please contact Mark Gardner of CST on 07971 790692 or the Board of Deputies Press Office on 07944 177027.