Anelka sacked following quit bid
2:20pm Saturday 15th March 2014 in © Press Association 2014
West Brom have trumped Nicolas Anelka's attempt to quit the club by sacking the striker for ''gross misconduct''.
The Frenchman declared on Twitter on Friday he had decided to terminate his contract with Albion, a day after it was confirmed neither he nor the Football Association would contest the five-match ban he was handed for his 'quenelle' goal celebration.
West Brom responded by issuing a statement themselves, in which they stressed they had not received any formal notification from Anelka or his advisors.
And they subsequently released another statement on Friday night, which said: "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."
Anelka was placed under a club suspension by West Brom after his five-match ban was imposed, pending the conclusion of an internal inquiry.
In his announcement on Twitter, the former France international, who turned 35 on Friday, said he was quitting the Baggies due to the unacceptable conditions they were proposing.
He said: ''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.
''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.''
And Albion made reference to this in their second statement on Friday, saying: "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.
"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."
The infamous 'quenelle' pose that Anelka struck after scoring against West Ham on December 28 has been associated with anti-Semitism in France.
Anelka claims his gesture was anti-establishment and made in support of his friend Dieudonne M'bala M'bala, a French comedian who has been convicted seven times of anti-Semitic crimes.
The independent regulatory commission that handed Anelka his punishment accepted there was no intent by the player to be anti-Semitic.
But West Brom have received a considerable amount of bad press as a result of the incident, and their main sponsor Zoopla announced it would not be seeking to renew its deal with them.
Anelka - who joined Albion last summer on a one-year deal, with a further year's option in the club's favour - had been due to begin his five-game ban on Saturday when West Brom face Swansea away.
After those five matches, the Baggies have only five more this season in which he would have been eligible.
But his West Brom career is now over, showing a total of 12 appearances and just two goals - both of which came in the West Ham game.
Along with the five-match suspension, Anelka was also issued with an £80,000 fine by the commission and ordered to complete an education course.
He had been charged by the FA with making an ''abusive and/or indecent and/or insulting and/or improper'' gesture, with it being alleged that it was an aggravated breach, in that it included ''a reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion or belief''.
And while it was the commission's finding that Anelka had not been deliberately anti-Semitic, both charges were found proved.
The FA had wanted a heavier punishment for Anelka, but said on Thursday: ''We do not consider there is a real prospect of successfully appealing to extend the sanction imposed.''
Giving his thoughts on the case, Professional Footballers' Association deputy chief executive Bobby Barnes told Press Association Sport: "It is an interesting one, because I think both conclusions (Anelka's and West Brom's) end up as the same thing.
"The player has already decided he is going to terminate his contract - whether it is necessary for the club to make their decision afterwards, I think is only a question the club can answer.
"The player clearly feels the situation moving forward is probably not in the best interests of him or the club and I think, in a way, rather than sitting there and fighting over settlements, some might say he has actually made a decision based on what he believes to be the right one for all."
Regarding Anelka's use of Twitter for his announcement, Barnes said: "There are perhaps different ways that that might be communicated, but a number of fairly high-profile and momentous decisions and messages do seem to be going out on Twitter at the moment.
"It is a matter for debate as to whether that is the right way, but it is a medium the player has used consistently - I don't think it's out of step with the way he has communicated in the past."
He added: "I think this was something that, whilst not out of the blue that it has actually happened, has probably taken a lot of people by surprise in that it has happened as quickly as it has.
"But I don't think it is a question of what is right and what is wrong really."