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Casilla given eight-game ban for racism

by comsmedia

Leeds have criticised the FA’s disciplinary process after their goalkeeper Kiko Casilla received an eight-match suspension for racially abusing an opponent

Casilla is unlikely to appeal but on Friday night the former Real Madrid player maintained his innocence, claiming he was “devastated” and did not believe the verdict was “a true reflection” of the incident.

An independent three-person FA regulatory panel found the 33-year-old Spaniard had racially abused Jonathan Leko during a game at Charlton in September.

It was alleged Casilla used the n-word at a corner but, unusually, the FA has delayed releasing its “written reasons” until next week. The goalkeeper consistently denied the charge and was supported at the hearing by evidence from Eddie Nketiah, the Arsenal forward then on loan at Leeds.

Leko, currently sidelined by a serious knee injury, had a key witness in Charlton’s Macaulay Bonne during a case in which input from lip readers is understood to have been used.

Leeds’ beef with a suspension that threatens to derail their bid for automatic promotion from the Championship is that the case was decided on balance of probabilities – the civil standard. They believe this is the wrong burden of proof for such a serious offence and would prefer to see the criminal standard “beyond reasonable doubt” applied. A middle way could be the “comfortable satisfaction of guilt” relied on by the court of arbitration for sport in doping cases.

Leeds made their displeasure plain in a statement: “We would like to make it clear 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 Kiko has always denied making any racist comment.

“The FA panel has based its 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.”

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