Leko releases hard-hitting statement after Casilla racial abuse charge
Jonathan Leko has released a powerful statement in which he "questions" whether he would report racial abuse again and criticised anti-racism bodies over their handling of the Kiko Casilla case.
Leeds goalkeeper Casilla, 33, was given an eight-match ban on Friday after being found to have used racist language towards Charlton forward Leko during a Sky Bet Championship match on September 28.
Casilla had denied the charge but an independent regulatory commission found a breach of Rule E3(2) proven and the FA have since delivered a full explanation as to how it reached its conclusion.
The commission was were told that during the match Casilla was alleged to have shouted: "You f****** n*****" towards Leko after an altercation during a corner.
Now Leko, who is back with parent club West Brom after suffering a season-ending injury in December, has spoken out about the incident and was highly critical of the FA, PFA, Kick It Out and Show Racism the Red Card.
Leko said: “I am naturally relieved that the process is now complete and the FA have upheld what I have always known to be true – that I was racially abused by Kiko Casilla in a manner which shocked me and still angers and upsets me to this day.
“I have been disappointed with the amount of time it has taken to reach this point. Knowing what occurred in the game that day, it has been difficult to watch Kiko Casilla continue to play for such a lengthy period as if nothing had happened.
“I would urge the game’s governing bodies to look into their own processes when such incidents are reported. It was 22 weeks between the incident and the hearing during which I had minimal contact from the PFA, of which I am a member, and no contact in the way of support from leading anti-racism bodies such as ‘Kick It Out’ and ‘Show Racism The Red Card’. Some support or guidance would have been very welcome.
“By bringing the incident to the referee’s attention immediately, I was only doing what I have been educated to do throughout my career. But I found the hearing, at which I was made to feel I had done something wrong, extremely stressful.
“It made me question whether I would be prepared to go through it all again were I on the receiving end of similar abuse in the future. I certainly would think twice about how to advise another player placed in the same situation.
“From the outset, all I have done is report something that had to be challenged and exposed for what it is – racial abuse. I now want to put the episode behind me and concentrate on recovering from my injury to be ready for next season.”
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