Kiko Casilla suspension sends strong message, says FA's Paul Elliott

Kiko Casilla 1:03
Paul Elliott, member of the FA's Inclusion Advisory Board, says the eight-match ban for Leeds' Kiko Casilla sends the right message over racism in football

Leeds goalkeeper Kiko Casilla's eight-match ban for using racist language sends a strong message, the Football Association's Paul Elliott says.

Casilla, 33, was given an eight-match ban on Friday after being found to have used racist language towards Charlton forward Jonathan Leko during a Sky Bet Championship match on September 28.

Former Chelsea, Celtic and Aston Villa defender Elliott, who sits on the FA's Inclusion Advisory Board, believes the sanction sends a strong message regarding racism but insists the education and rehabilitation of the player thereafter is just as vital.

Speaking at an event promoting the upcoming inaugural British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards (BEDSA) at Wembley Stadium, he told Sky Sports News: "I'm not [privy] to the details of the case but if you look at the sanction, any sanction sends a strong message.

Paul Elliott, at the Sports Journalism Awards, February 2017 (cropped)
Image: Paul Elliott sits on the FA's Inclusion Advisory Board

"Here at the FA what is important is that we have a message of zero tolerance generically across everything.

"Zero tolerance is important and consistent application of that is important. But education and rehabilitation is also important because people can say the wrong things, everyone can be guilty of saying wrong things.

"The message is clear across the game but what we are also saying is that there is an opportunity to reintegrate and rehabilitate yourself back into football.

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"The sanction sends a strong message but also the training, education and rehabilitation to create a pathway back into football."

What are the BEDSAs and why do they exist?

The British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards is a celebration of excellence within the Black, Asian and minority ethnic community in sport which culminates with a ceremony on March 14.

A judging panel consisting of a number of people who are involved with Sporting Equals - an initiative to promote sporting engagement and activity particularly across under represented demographics and backgrounds - and champions of diversity in sport in general, will select winners alongside a public vote.

1:40
Arun Kang, CEO of Sporting Equals and the founder of the The British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards explains how the new event will work

Arun Kang, CEO of Sporting Equals and the founder of the BEDSAs explained: "There are a number of different categories; the inspirational performance award which is for particularly inspiring performances from the Paralympics to the world championships or whatever it is.

"There are the usual sportswomen and sportsmen awards, coach of the year awards, all of those kind of elite awards. There are also grassroots, unsung champion and community sports project [awards] which goes to a project which inspires a whole community or society to do more sport.

"This is the second round of judging where will be finding our winners and then we will wait for the public vote to come through, we'll then put the votes together and announce the winner at the awards on March 14.

Dame Katherine Grainger, Olympic gold medallist and chair of UK Sport, is on the judging panel for the BEDSAs
Image: Chair of UK Sport, Katherine Grainger, says athletes do not need distractions as everyone waits on how coronavirus may affect Tokyo 2020

"[Among the panellists] we have Dame Katherine Grainger, the chair of UK Sport and former Olympic champion in rowing. Montell Douglas, a bobsledder and former British 100m sprint champion, Devon Malcolm the former cricketer, Paul Elliott the former footballer and Chris Ramsey the coach.

"There has been whole a variety of judges involved. Christine Ohuruogu the former Olympic champion was in the first round of judging, as was Ama Agbeze the Commonwealth champion in netball.

"We also want to make sure that whoever is going to win from the judges' side is through a unanimous decision."

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