Banned Anelka walks out on West Brom
Banned French striker Nicolas Anelka on Friday revealed he has quit West Bromwich Albion with immediate effect.
Anelka, who turned 35 on Friday, was due to start a five-match ban after being punished for his controversial "quenelle" goal celebration but instead he has decided to terminate his contract with the Premier League club.
"Following discussions between the club and me, proposals have been made to me that I rejoined the group under certain conditions," Anelka wrote on his official Twitter account.
"I cannot accept. Wishing to keep my integrity, I decided to free myself and to terminate the contract linking me with West Bromwich Albion until 2014 as of now."
Anelka's contract with the Baggies was set to expire at the end of the season and it had already been reported that he was considering quitting the Hawthorns after growing disillusioned over the controversy surrounding his now infamous use of what many regard as an anti-semitic gesture to celebrate a goal in West Brom's 3-3 draw at West Ham on December 28.
The ex-France international strenuously denied all allegations of being racist or anti-semitic and said the salute was to show solidarity with his friend, controversial French comedian Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala.
West Brom, whose own investigation into the former Arsenal and Real Madrid star's actions was expected to conclude next week, responded angrily to Anelka's announcement and revealed they had received no formal notification of his wish to leave.
"The club confirms it has been continuing discussions with Nicolas Anelka and his advisers as part of its own internal enquiry into the gesture he made after scoring against West Ham United on December 28," a statement read.
"Following the conclusion of the FA's enquiry into the same incident, the club had hoped to conclude its own investigations next week.
"The club notes Nicolas Anelka's comments on Twitter this evening. However, the club has received nothing formally regarding the termination of Nicolas Anelka's contract from either him or his advisers.
"The club regards the release of such a statement on social media as highly unprofessional and will make a further statement when appropriate."
Albion had already lost one sponsor as a result of the row and the club had not ruled out sacking Anelka for his quenelle gesture.
On Thursday, the Football Association (FA) decided against appealing the length of Anelka's ban, issued by an independent commission for his actions.
Anelka, who has spent 12 years of his career in the Premier League with six clubs, is understood to have also accepted the ruling, which meant his suspension would have started with West Brom's match at Swansea on Saturday.
The FA were considering an appeal to obtain an increase to the ban, which was the minimum that could be handed out based on the governing body's new rules overseeing offences of a racist nature.
Anelka's apparently acrimonious exit from Albion has come to light just a day after the club and the FA were criticised by the equality group Kick It Out.
"There are many ambiguities that are not easily reconcilable with the final outcome," the Kick It Out statement read.
"For instance, Anelka has attended one of Dieudonne's live performances and admits to being a friend of his, and to claim that he does not understand the anti-Semitic connotations of the quenelle is beyond feasibility.
"His employer West Bromwich Albion should have exercised its leadership as a community institution to apologise for the offence caused and deal with the matter in accordance with its disciplinary procedures."
Following the incident, Anelka started all four of Albion's Premier League games in January. But he has not featured since and was due to miss relegation-threatened Albion's matches against Swansea, Hull, Norwich, Cardiff and Tottenham.