FA ‘do not accept’ Kiko Casilla was unaware ‘N-word’ existed as they explain Leeds No1’s eight-game racism ban – The SunJanuary 29, 2022
THE Football Association have released the details of their investigation in which they found Kiko Casilla guilty of using racist language towards Jonathan Leko.
The incident took place in the second half of the match between Leeds United and Charlton Athletic on September 28, 2019, and has lead to an eight-match ban for goalkeeper Casilla, as well as a £60,000 fine.
Casilla was accused of breaching FA Rule E3 – calling Leko a "f***ing n***er" after the pair had clashed prior to a corner being taken.
A key defence used by the Spaniard was that, given his limited English, he did not even know that the "N-word" existed.
But the FA did "not accept" this argument, instead maintaining that Casilla "was aware of the English word", as well as the "meaning and connotation of that word, and that it was a racial insult."
The FA were at pains to stress that they used the civil standard of proof.
Among the character witnesses summoned by Casilla's defence were former coach at Espanyol Thomas N'Kono and former team-mate Mubarak Wakaso.
N'Kono stressed that he "simply cannot believe" that Casilla would use that sort of language, a sentiment that Wakaso agreed with.
The FA commission accepted that Casilla is "not a racist", and that the use of language was "out of character".
But they were also "satisfied on the balance of probabilities" that the remark had been said.
The witnesses for Casilla included Leeds team-mates Ben White, Kalvin Phillips and Liam Cooper.
Among those called for the FA's case, however, included Charlton striker Macauley Bonne, who claims to have heard the remark, as well as Casilla's then team-mate Eddie Nketiah.
The Arsenal striker, who was on loan at Leeds at the time, had come on at half-time for Marcelo Bielsa's side and was on the pitch when the incident took place.
The commission found Leko and Casilla to have clashed before the corner in question was taken, with the Leeds No1 touching the West Brom loanee, with a small "argument" occurring.
Casilla was found to have said words to the effect of "Who are you? What's your f***ing name?"
The 33-year-old then punched the corner away, immediately after which the racist abuse was found to have taken place.
The FA commission found Leko and Bonne to have been "impressive and straightforward witnesses".
They also concluded that they "could not reliably place any significant weight on his [Casilla] denials that he had not uttered the words alleged," and that "having successfully defended the Corner and punched the ball clear, he determined to direct one last utterance at JL [Leko]."
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Casilla served the first of his eight-match ban on Friday, as Leeds won 4-0 at Hull City.
The ban means that he will be ineligible to play until the Whites' final three regular matches of the season.
As part of Casilla's punishment, in addition to his ban and fine, he will have to attend face-to-face education.
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