Leeds goalkeeper Kiko Casilla handed eight-game suspension

By PA Sport Staff
PA Media: Sport

Leeds goalkeeper Kiko Casilla has been given an eight-match ban after he was found to have used racist language towards a Charlton player during a Sky Bet Championship match in September.

Casilla had denied the charge but an independent regulatory commission found the breach proven.

The Spaniard has also been fined £60,000 and ordered to attend face-to-face education.

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Casilla was alleged to have made the discriminatory comments towards Jonathan Leko during the fixture on September 28.

A statement from Leeds read: “Leeds United acknowledges that Kiko Casilla has been found guilty of breaching FA Rule E3 during our Sky Bet Championship game with Charlton Athletic in September 2019.

“We would like to make it clear that we do not tolerate any form of discrimination within our football club and we are a leader in the fight against discrimination within our wider community.

“However, it is important to recognise that Kiko has always denied making any racist comment.

“The FA panel have based their decision on the balance of probability rather than proving Kiko to be guilty beyond reasonable doubt, which we have always believed is the more appropriate burden of proof.”

Casilla, who was signed from Real Madrid in January 2019, has started all of Leeds’ league matches this season.

His ban will start with Saturday’s trip to Hull and he will not be available again until Leeds face Barnsley on April 18.

Casilla later tweeted: “I feel truly sad and devastated for being accused of making supposedly a racist comment during last September’s match vs Charlton.

“Firstly I want to express firmly that racism should not be tolerated neither in football, sports, nor in any other field in our society.

“With respect to the FA, I fully respect and understand the obvious process to be taken to prosecute any accusation of racism. In fact, I totally agree with any prosecution in order to eliminate any trace of racism in sport.

“Nevertheless I would sincerely like to mention that (the) last five months have been the most difficult ones in my professional career and I do not feel at all that the guilty verdict is a clear reflection of the incident.

“I am sure that my family, friends, colleagues and the different technical teams whom I have been working with for all these years in my professional career know that I would never use my words with a racist meaning and my respectful behaviour towards my opponents since I started my career has been honest and with the maximum sense of fair play.

“I would like to deeply thank my club, Leeds United, for its support during all this time and, above all, I appreciate the support of our amazing fans every week, whose warmth has strengthened me and make me feel stronger in the difficult moments.”

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