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French Minister for Sport condemns Anelka gesture

France's Minister for Sport Valerie Fourneyron hit out at West Bromwich player Nicolas Anelka for making a gesture that has associations with anti-semitism in France. Writing on Twitter, she said:

"Anelka's gesture is a shocking and disgusting provocation. Anti-semitism or incitement to hatred has no place on the football field."

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Le geste d'Anelka est une provocation choquante, écoeurante. Pas de place pour antisémitisme et incitation à la haine sur terrain de foot

National

West Brom player 'surprised' at anti-semitic claims

West Bromwich Albion's Nicolas Anelka Credit: Stephen Pond/PA Wir

West Brom head coach Keith Downing has said forward Nicolas Anelka is surprised by claims his goal celebration during the Baggies' 3-3 draw at West Ham was an anti-Semitic gesture.

The 34-year-old returned to the West Brom side for the first time in over two months and scored a brace in an entertaining Barclays Premier League game in which both sides came from behind.

Anelka seemingly performed the 'quenelle' salute, made famous by French comedian Dieudonne and linked to anti-Semitism in his homeland, but Downing said the striker was merely paying homage to his friend.

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Masked robbers steal cash and cigarettes in Tesco raid

Masked raiders armed with crowbars and a sledgehammer threatened a petrol station worker before emptying the tills.

Three men stormed the Tesco filling station in Congregation Way, West Bromwich, and smashed shelves and displays before escaping with cash as well as hundreds of pounds worth of cigarettes.

Det Sgt Toby Davis said the female sales worker was on the late shift at around 11pm on Saturday when the robbery happened, and was threatened as the robbers got behind the till.

They were in and out in just a few minutes, stealing as many cigarettes as they could carry.

We know they left the scene in an Audi A1 which was white with a black roof.

It is fairly distinctive and we urge people who saw it in the area of West Bromwich on Saturday night to call us as their information could prove vital in piecing together events and who is responsible for the crime.

– DS Toby Davis, West Midlands Police

West Brom to hold talks with Steve Clarke over new deal

Steve Clarke's contract with West Brom runs out at the end of the season
Steve Clarke's contract with West Brom runs out at the end of the season Credit: David Davies/PA Wire/Press Association Images

West Brom say they will hold contract talks with head coach Steve Clarke in the new year.

Clarke, who took over from England manager Roy Hodgson at The Hawthorns in June 2012, is out of contract at the end of the season.

Under Clarke, the Baggies are currently in tenth place having finished eighth last season.

New sign based on Albion legends unveiled today

A new sign welcoming people to West Bromwich is being unveiled today.

The sign is based on a statue of Albion legends Brendon Batson, Laurie Cunningham and Cyrille Regis.

Statue of West Bromwich Albion legends Brendon Batson, Laurie Cunningham and Cyrille Regis Credit: ITV News Central

The statue will be unveiled in West Bromwich town centre next summer.

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Controversial art centre about to close for good

The controversial art centre and venue, The Public, in West Bromwich, is about to close down for good.

It has cost around £70 million and a local council was having to plough in £30,000 a week to keep it going.

A leading councillor said today it was an expensive mistake to build the Public in the first place.

Others have defended it saying it is a wonderful asset and should be saved.

From Saturday it closes its doors as an art gallery and venue, and will be turned into a college.

Sixty people will lose their jobs.

Firefighters to leave scene of old Sandwell college fire in hours

Firefighters are expected to leave the scene of a fire at an old Sandwell college building within hours after an investigation revealed no new concerns.

Fire investigators at 04.00 revealed no new threats of fire at the site on Lodge Road.

As many as 50 firefighters were tackling the fire overnight but that has now been significantly reduced with the remainder expected to hand over to security in the next couple of hours.

Blind Dave to raise money for Harry Moseley charity

Blind Dave Heeley will take part in the 7-in-Seven Big Bike ride for his latest fundraising challenge.

The West Bromwich runner, who became the first and only blind person in the world to complete seven marathons in seven days on seven continents, will cycle from Zurich to Birmingham for the event.

Blind Dave Heeley from West Bromwich Credit: Fiona Hanson/PA Wire

Travelling 700 miles, Dave and 50 other cyclists will travel through seven countries with the aim of raising more than £100,000 for the Help Harry Help Others charity.

Harry Moseley died in 2011 Credit: ITV News Central

The charity was set up in memory of Harry Moseley who died in 2011.

Harry raised thousands of pounds for brain cancer, whilst suffering from the disease.

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