Jonathan Leko has today released a statement following the FA’s decision to ban Leeds goalkeeper Kiko Casilla for eight games as a result of an incident of racial abuse which breached FA Rule 32.
The FA yesterday published the written reasons as to how the independent Regulatory Commission reached its verdict following a hearing last week. The FA pointed out that the charge was proven on the required balance of probabilities “to a degree well above the requisite standard.”
The incident happened during a Sky Bet Championship match at The Valley on September 28 during Jonathan’s loan period with Charlton Athletic. The incident was reported to the match referee at the time.
Jonathan’s statement reads: “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.”
West Bromwich Albion continues to fully support Jonathan through what has clearly been a difficult and challenging period for the 20-year-old forward who is also currently recovering from ACL knee surgery.
We know our supporters would want to join the Club in reaffirming our historic and unflinching position in the fight against any form of racist behaviour in and beyond football.