Leko blasts FA, PFA and anti-racism bodies over handling of Casilla's racial abuse charge
- Jonathan Leko took aim at the FA and other bodies for their handling of Kiko Casilla's racial abuse charge, despite the Spaniard's ban.
West Brom forward Jonathan Leko gave a scathing assessment of the Football Association (FA), Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) and anti-racism bodies for their processes and handling of Kiko Casilla's racial abuse charge.
On Friday, Leeds United goalkeeper Casilla was found guilty of racially abusing Leko in September, an independent regulatory commission ruling the charge had been proven on the balance of probabilities "to a degree well above the requisite standard".
Casilla, who denied the charge, was given an eight-match ban and a £60,000 fine by the FA.
Although Leko acknowledged relief at his claim being upheld, he subsequently made a strong attack on the FA's processes and the various bodies who might have offered him support.
The 20-year-old suggested the lack of contact and "extremely stressful" hearing will make him think twice about lodging such a complaint if he was to find himself in a comparable situation in future.
Jonathan Leko statement. https://t.co/qAGgThNDQs— West Bromwich Albion (@WBA) March 4, 2020
Leko's statement on West Brom's website read: "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."
Stats Perform have contacted the PFA, Kick It Out and Show Racism the Red Card for their responses.Published 05 Mar 2020, 03:34 IST