ivorian nets brace

FA to look into Kalou ''handcuff'' celebration

January 29, 2009

The Football Association have confirmed they will examine video footage of Chelsea striker Salomon Kalou's 'handcuff' goal celebration against Middlesbrough.

Kalou struck twice, in the 58th and 81st minutes, to lift Chelsea into second place in the Premier League table and leave Middlesbrough entrenched in the bottom three.

But the striker celebrated both goals by crossing his wrists and was joined in doing so by Ivory Coast team-mate Didier Drogba.

Chelsea swiftly denied there was any political motivation behind Kalou's gesture and insisted he was not showing support for the recently freed Ivory Coast activist Antoine Assale Tiemoko.

An FA spokesman confirmed: ''We are going to look at the relevant footage.''

Tiemoko was released from a one-year prison sentence last month after being convicted of 'libelling the prosecutor's office' and being in contempt of court.

He was arrested in December 2007 after the country's daily paper, Le Nouveau Reveil, published his opinion piece on judicial corruption. But Kalou denied he even knows Tiemoko.

''People are always going to think there is something in what you do, but it didn't mean anything,'' said Kalou. ''I was just happy. I don't even know the guy - it has nothing to do with football. It wasn't for him, I don't know him so I don't know why I should celebrate for him?''

Earlier, a spokesperson for Chelsea said: ''Salomon says there was nothing in it. He was just trying out a new celebration and it was a crossing of the arms. He also sometimes puts his hand over his face like a mask.''

The FA could decide to ask the player for his reasoning behind the gesture, but with Kalou having already denied it was politically motivated it is unlikely any further action would be taken.

The FA have been quick to clamp down on controversial gestures, with Ipswich's David Norris fined £5,000 last year for making the same gesture in support of former Plymouth team-mate Luke McCormick, who was jailed for seven years and four months after causing the death by dangerous driving of two young brothers.

Everton midfielder Tim Cahill also used a 'handcuff' celebration last March, following his goal against Portsmouth. It was dedicated to his jailed older brother, Sean, who received a six-year sentence for kicking a man during a fight.

FIFA banned players from making any political statements or protests on the pitch in July 2002 after Liverpool stars had worn T-shirts in a show of support for striking dockers.

Kalou's double lifted Chelsea into second in the table and they travel to face third-placed Liverpool on Sunday with the striker convinced that the Reds are in the midst of a rocky patch.

''The Premier League is strong and you can never say it's over,'' said Kalou. ''Every team is going to have bad moments. We have had our bad moment, Liverpool are having theirs now, maybe it will be Manchester United's turn soon.

''We have to be focused, try to win our games and hope the others have their bad moments.

''Liverpool came to Stamford Bridge and ended our record - we have the possibility on Sunday to go there and put the record straight. We know we can do that - I believe in the team.

''People are always saying we don't do well against the big four, but this is the occasion to put things right and get a good result.''