Anelka denies religion or race behind meaning of controversial celebration

Anelka has said people should not be duped by the media Photo: PA

West Brom striker Nicolas Anelka has denied his goal celebration at West Ham on Saturday had any racial or anti-Semitic connotations and asked people not to be "duped by the media".

The former Arsenal and Real Madrid striker caused a storm in his native France by performing the 'quenelle' salute made famous in his homeland by comedian Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala after scoring the first of his two goals at Upton Park in the 3-3 draw.

The gesture has been linked to anti-Semitism in France and The European Jewish Congress has demanded action, claiming Anelka should be subjected to the same punishment handed out to those who perform a Nazi salute.

French minister for sport Valerie Fourneyron also condemned the gesture as "shocking" and "disgusting".

But Anelka is adamant it was nothing more than a "special dedication to his friend Dieudonne".

He expanded on Twitter: "I do not know what religion has to do with this story.

"This gesture is a dedication to Dieudonne. With regard to the ministers who give their own interpretations of my quenelle, they are the ones that create confusion and controversy without knowing what the gesture really means.

"I ask people not to be duped by the media.

"And of course I am neither racist nor anti-Semitic."