Leko critical of Kick It Out and PFA over Casilla case
Jonathan Leko has criticised ‘Kick It Out’ and the Professional Footballers’ Association for what he claims was their lack of support during his recent racism case against Kiko Casilla.
And he blasted the process that led to Casilla being handed an eight-match ban on Friday, calling it “extremely stressful” and adding that he had been “made to feel that I had done something wrong.”
Leeds goalkeeper Casilla was found to have used racist language towards Leko, who was then playing for Charlton during a Sky Bet Championship match on September 28.
Leko, who has returned to parent club West Brom because of injury, said he was “relieved” that the process was over but disappointed by the response of some of the game’s leading bodies.
He said in a statement: “I have been disappointed with the amount of time it has taken to reach this point.
“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.”
Casilla had denied the charge but an independent regulatory commission found him guilty after concluding it “was satisfied of the evidence in excess of the balance of probabilities.”
The Spaniard was also fined £60,000 and ordered to attend face-to-face education classes.
In his statement, DR Congo-born Leko also said: “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.”
Leko said the trauma of the trial had left him questioning “whether I would be prepared to go through it all again were I on the receiving end of similar abuse in the future.”
He added: “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.”
The PFA had no immediate response whilst the PA news agency is also seeking reaction from Kick It Out and Show Racism The Red Card.