West Bromwich Albion striker Nicolas Anelka has received support following a Football Association charge for making an offensive anti-semitic quenelle gesture from Everton forward Romelu Lukaku.

Anelka is facing a minimum five-match ban after being found by the FA to have "made a gesture which was abusive and/or indecent and/or insulting and/or improper" which also "included a reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion or belief".

The incident occurred after the former France international scored against West Ham United at Upton Park in December and has been met by stinging criticism from the Kick It Out campaign and West Brom's shirt sponsor Zoopla who will drop its association with the club at the end of the season.

The former Arsenal, Chelsea and Real Madrid player has claimed the gesture is in support of friend and comedian Dieudinne M'Bala-M'Bala and Lukaku, who spent last season on loan at the Baggies from Chelsea, has risked a backlash and seemingly supporting Anelka's case.

"He was my idol as a kid and he still is," Lukaku told EvertonTV.

"He shouldn't be banned for that. He's supporting a stand-up comedian in France so we don't have to make such a big deal about it.

"He's an adult and I hope he doesn't get suspended because he is a player that people want to see play on the pitch."

Anelka, 34, has until Thursday to respond to the charge.

Following high-profile racism cases involving Liverpool striker Luis Suarez and former England captain John Terry, the FA in May introduced a tariff regarding future bans, with five-match punishments handed out for first-time offences.

European football's governing body Uefa announced in April plans to punish players with 10-game bans for any racism case and the FA are coming under growing pressure to make example of Anelka.

Jonathan Arkush, vice-president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, told Press Association Sport: "I know under the rules that on a first-time offence there is a minimum five-game suspension but I think what he did was sufficiently serious to justify a longer suspension than five matches.

"He has not indicated one bit of remorse or regret or apologised for his actions. He has simply said he wouldn't do it again and that is not good enough."