Kiko Casilla: Leeds 'keeper gets eight-match ban for racially abusing Jonathan Leko
"I do not feel at all that the guilty verdict is a clear reflection of the incident," says Casilla
Last Updated: 29/02/20 8:09am
Leeds goalkeeper Kiko Casilla has been banned for eight games and fined £60,000 for racist comments made to Charlton winger Jonathan Leko.
Leko, on loan from West Brom, made the allegation after Charlton beat Leeds 1-0 at the Valley in September.
Following an investigation, Casilla was charged by the FA in November under rule E3 and the Spaniard "strenuously" denied the allegation, according to a Leeds statement.
But Casilla has since been found guilty of racially abusing 20-year-old Leko and must attend face-to-face education.
Casilla 'devastated' by FA decision
Casilla responded to the verdict by once again protesting his innocence and saying the "last five months have been the most difficult ones in my professional career".
"I feel truly sad and devastated for being accused of making supposedly a racist comment during last September's match vs Charlton," said Casilla in a message on his Twitter.
"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 to eliminate any trace of racism in sport.
"I do not feel at all that the guilty verdict is a clear reflection of the incident."
Leeds made a statement which reiterated the Spaniard "has always denied making any racist comment".
A club statement read: "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 has featured in all 35 of Leeds' Sky Bet Championship matches so far this season.
But Leeds, who are second in the table behind West Brom, will be without their No 1 goalkeeper until the final three games of the campaign.
FA statement in full
An FA statement read: "Kiko Casilla has been suspended for eight matches with immediate effect, fined £60,000 and must attend face-to-face education after a breach of FA Rule E3(2) was found proven by an independent Regulatory Commission.
"The Leeds United Goalkeeper denied using abusive and/or insulting words, which were contrary to FA Rule E3(1) and constituted an "Aggravated Breach", which is defined in FA Rule E3(2), as they made reference to race and/or colour and/or ethnic origin, towards a Charlton Athletic player during an EFL Championship fixture on Saturday 28 September 2019.
"The independent Regulatory Commission's written reasons will be published on the week commencing Monday 2 March 2020."