Casilla denies racially abusing Leko in Championship match

Leeds goalkeeper Kiko Casilla has been charged with using abusive language of a racist nature towards a Charlton player.

The Spaniard, 33, is alleged to have made discriminatory comments towards Jonathan Leko during a Sky Bet Championship match on September 28.

The Football Association said Casilla, who has “strenuously denied” the allegation, has until November 12 to provide a response.

An FA statement published on Monday afternoon read: “Kiko Casilla has been charged with a breach of FA Rule E3.

“It is alleged that, contrary to Rule E3(1), the Leeds United goalkeeper used abusive and/or insulting words towards a Charlton Athletic player during an EFL Championship fixture on 28 September 2019.

“It is further alleged that the words constitute an “Aggravated Breach”, which is defined in Rule E3(2), as they made reference to race and/or colour and/or ethnic origin.”

FA rules state that from the start of this season, anyone found guilty of an aggravated breach faces a mandatory minimum suspension of six matches, which may be increased based on any additional aggravating factors.

Leeds released a statement following the Casilla charge, saying the Spaniard “strenuously denies” the charge.

“Leeds United Football Club acknowledges the charge from the FA today relating to Kiko Casilla and an alleged breach of FA Rule E3 during our Sky Bet Championship match with Charlton Athletic at The Valley in September,” the statement read.

Charlton Athletic v Swansea City – Sky Bet Championship – The Valley
Casilla is charged with racially abusing Jonathan Leko, pictured (John Walton/PA)

“Kiko strenuously denies the allegation and has proactively worked with the FA during their investigation to date. The next step of this process will be a personal hearing, in the meantime Kiko will remain available for selection.”

Casilla was signed by Leeds from Real Madrid in January and quickly established himself as boss Marcelo Bielsa’s first-choice goalkeeper.

He has made 32 appearances for Leeds and has started in all 15 of their Championship games this season.

Casilla progressed through Real’s youth system and later spent seven years at Espanyol before returning to the Bernabeu Stadium in 2015.

He was understudy to Keylor Navas in his first season back at Real and slipped further down the pecking order when the Spanish club signed Thibault Cortois in 2018.

Christian Kabasele has been targeted on social media
Christian Kabasele has been targeted on social media (Mike Egerton/PA)

Watford confirmed on Monday afternoon the club had reported racist abuse directed at defender Christian Kabasele to Hertfordshire Constabulary.

The Belgian had earlier flagged up the abusive post as part of Watford’s ‘#BuzzOff’ campaign, which calls out discrimination on social media.

Watford said on Twitter: “We have already received a crime ref. no. from the Hate Crime team
@HertsPolice, having reported the abuse directed at @chriskabasele27. Thanks Kaba for calling this out.

“We will report back news of any action against the offender. #watfordfc #BuzzOff.”

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