On Sky News, discussing the channel’s exclusive interview with controversial French performer Dieudonne, in the wake of Nicolas Anelka’s ‘quenelle’ gesture and subsequent FA charge. Broadcast: 24/1/14
“The interview was more notable for what Dieudonne didn’t say than what he did. This was a perfect platform for him to put across his views. If he isn’t an enthusiastic anti-Semite – and eight convictions for anti-Semitism suggests otherwise – then this was the opportunity for him to set out his position. Equally, if he doesn’t endorse people using his shabby little gesture at locations such as Auschwitz, here was a chance for him to clearly state that. Instead. all we got on both counts was obscene silence.
“I didn’t find the interview particularly inquisitive. Key issues and salient points were not raised, such as Dieudonne’s relationship with Jean-Marie Le Pen and the French National Front and that he refers to Holocaust memorials – and let’s not forget it’s Holocaust Memorial Day here in the UK on Monday – as “historical pornography”. The interviewer seemed so delighted to get five minutes with this man that he omitted the tough questions.”
“The FA was right to take as long as it did to come to terms with a difficult issue, and Anelka is entitled to defend himself and have his day in court. My concern has always been with the behaviour of his club, West Brom, which should have taken a far more informed stance on this issue from the start. The club didn’t seem qualified to comment on it from the beginning and has been virtually silent ever since. Rather than view Anelka as an expensive employee who can keep them in the Premier League, West Brom should treat him as an individual who should be held responsible for everything he says and does.”