Hull City striker Yannick Sagbo and Queens Park Rangers loanee Benoit Assou-Ekotto were charged with improper conduct by the Football Association (FA) on Tuesday for social media posts relating to the controversial “quenelle” gesture.
Meanwhile, Manchester City’s Samir Nasri and Liverpool’s Mamadou Sakho both received warnings from the governing body for similar incidents.
The quenelle, widely regarded as anti-Semitic, came to the fore when West Bromwich Albion striker Nicolas Anelka made the gesture when celebrating a goal against West Ham United on Dec. 28.
Former France striker Anelka was banned for five games in February, despite denying all allegations of racism and anti-Semitism.
He insisted he had acted out of solidarity with his friend, French comedian Dieudonne M’Bala M’Bala, who has been prosecuted in France for various racial offenses.
West Brom subsequently sacked Anelka for “gross misconduct” on March 14, just hours after he said he was quitting the Premier League club.
The FA has now announced fresh action against Assou-Ekotto and Sagbo for issuing messages of support for Anelka, Dieudonne and the quenelle gesture itself.
They are accused of breaching a rule designed to prevent abusive comments based on race, religion and ethnicity.
“Having considered the particular facts of each case extremely carefully in consultation with our appointed expert, the FA has today charged Mr Assou-Ekotto and Mr Sagbo with improper conduct... in relation to their postings on Twitter,” the governing body said. “Both players have until April 8, 2014, to respond to the charges. The FA has issued Mr Nasri with a formal warning. Mr Sakho has been reminded of his responsibilities as a participant.”
Assou-Ekotto, on a season-long loan at QPR from Tottenham Hotspur, went on Twitter after Anelka’s salute to post a tweet in French — “jte fellicite man belle keunel epaule” — which translates into English as “I congratulate you man on the beautiful shoulder quenelle.”
Nasri was pictured performing the quenelle in a Twitter post, but explained his conduct on Dec. 30 last year.
“The pose in the picture I posted over 2 months ago symbolizes being against the system,” Nasri said.
“It has absolutely nothing to do with being anti-semitic or against Jewish people. I apologise for causing any hurt to anyone who might have been mislead into thinking this means anything of that nature,” the Manchester City player said.
Sakho was also pictured performing the gesture, but said in November last year he did not realize the significance of what he was doing.
“This photo was taken six months ago, I did not know the meaning of this gesture, I got trapped,” the Liverpool defender wrote on Twitter.