• Premier League

West Brom sack Anelka for gross misconduct

ESPN staff
March 14, 2014
Nicolas Anelka was given a five-match ban for his 'quenelle' celebration © Getty Images

West Bromwich Albion have terminated the contract of striker Nicolas Anelka, following a day of bizarre twists and turns in the confusing tale surrounding the maverick French striker.

Anelka's future at West Brom has been under a cloud since he was handed a five-game suspension by the FA for his controversial "quenelle" goal celebration at West Ham in December.

The striker and his advisers had been in discussions with West Brom over his possible return to the club in the last couple of days, but those discussions appeared to have broken down when Anelka announced on Twitter he was leaving earlier on Friday.

West Brom responded by initially suggesting his actions were "unprofessional", before they announced on Friday evening that Anelka had played his last game for the club.

"Further to the statement issued earlier this evening, the club notes Nicolas Anelka is unwilling to agree to the conditions set by it which may have enabled his suspension to be lifted and for him to resume training," read a West Brom statement.

"These conditions were, firstly, that the club required Nicolas Anelka to apologise to it, its supporters, sponsors and the wider community for the impact and consequences of his gesture made on December 28 and secondly, that he accept a substantial fine.

"Nicolas Anelka's purported termination of his Premier League contract this evening via social media was invalid as this was not conducted under the correct legal process as required by his contract.

"The club considers the conduct of Nicolas Anelka on December 28, coupled with his purported termination on social media this evening, to be gross misconduct. As a result the club has tonight written to Nicolas Anelka giving him 14 days' notice of termination as required under his contract."

Earlier, Anelka had claimed he was walking away from West Brom in any case, as he failed to agree to the club's ultimatums later confirmed in their statement.

"Following talks between the club and me, propositions were made to me in order to reintegrate me into the squad under certain conditions that I cannot accept," he wrote on Twitter in French.

"Wishing to retain my integrity, I have therefore taken the decision to free myself and put an end to the contract linking me with West Bromwich Albion to 2014, with immediate effect."

These latest developments bring to an end one of the more complex disciplinary cases English football has faced in recent years, with Anelka's future in the game now very much in doubt as he looks for what would be his 13th different club at the age of 35.

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