Leeds keeper Kiko Casilla has been banned for eight games for allegedly calling Charlton’s Jonathan Leko a “n*****”.
The 33-year-old Spaniard has also been fined £60,000 over the incident and ordered to attend a face-to-face education session.
The FA have declined to comment on the alleged slur but will publish their full written reasons for the lengthy suspension early next week.
Congolese forward Leko is understood to have claimed, to his disgusted team-mates, that the abuse was directed towards him during Charlton's 1-0 win at The Valley on 28 September.
Casilla strenuously denied being racially offensive and continues to do so.
But he was charged in November with a witness believed to have supported Leko and referee John Brooks having included details of the incident in his match report.
An independent regulatory commission found him guilty and ruled that his comments constituted an “aggravated breach”of Rule E3(1) as they made reference to race and/or colour and/or ethnic origin.
In a statement posted on Twitter soon after the ban was announced, Casilla said: “I feel truly sad and devastated for being accused of making a supposedly racist comment during last September’s match v Charlton.
“Firstly I want to express firmly that racism should not be tolerated neither in football, sports, nor in any other field in our society.
“With respect to the FA, I fully respect and understand the obvious process to be taken to prosecute any accusation of racism. In fact, I totally agree with any prosecution in order to eliminate any trace of racism in sport.
“Nevertheless I would sincerely like to mention that [the] last five months have been the most difficult ones in my professional career and I do not feel at all that the guilty verdict is a clear reflection of the incident.
“I am sure that my family, friends, colleagues and the different technical teams whom I have been working with for all these years in my professional career know that I would NEVER use my words with a racist meaning – and my respectful behaviors towards my opponents since I started my career has been honest and with the maximum sense of fair play.”
A Leeds statement said: "We would like to make it clear that 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 that Kiko has always denied making any racist comment.
"The FA panel have based their 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."
The punishment exceeds the six-match mandatory ban introduced by the FA for anyone guilty of racist abuse, introduced last July. But it falls short of the 12 matches Casilla had been expected to receive.
It is the biggest punishment any player has had for racist abuse since Luis Suarez was banned for eight games in 2011 for racially abusing Patrice Evra.
Source: Read Full Article