Leeds United CEO Angus Kinnear has revealed that the club are concerned by the FA’s standard of proof ahead of Kiko Casilla’s hearing.
The goalkeeper was charged by the FA with racially abusing Charlton Athletic forward Jonathan Leko in a game at the Valley in September.
It is alleged that the Spaniard’s words “made reference to race and/or colour and/or ethnic origin”.
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Casilla “strenuously denies” the allegation but will now face a personal hearing.
Rules were introduced at the start of the 2019/20 season that mean the minimum suspension that the 33-year-old could be facing is six matches, which can be extended if there are any aggravating factors.
Ahead of Casilla’s hearing, Kinnear said that Leeds remain vehement to stamp racism out but has revealed that Leeds are concerned by the FA’s standard of proof.
He explained (quotes via the Yorkshire Evening Post): “As a club we fully support such a serious allegation being subject to full investigation and a disciplinary process. Our only concern is that the standard of proof for an FA hearing is not ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’ but ‘on the balance of probability.’
“We believe that in cases of this seriousness the higher standard of proof is more appropriate. This is not because we fear a sporting sanction, but because a man’s reputation is at stake.”
Casilla joined Leeds in January and has been a mainstay in the first-team ever since–becoming a key part of Marcelo Bielsa’s side.
If he is banned, it currently seems as if French teenager Illan Meslier will replace him.
The 19-year-old joined on a season-long loan from Ligue 2 side Lorient and has served as Casilla’s back up in the 2019/20 campaign.
I can understand where Kinnear is coming from on this one but you have to wonder whether the right time to try and change the rule is when it is about to impact you and one of your players.
If there is enough evidence to judge that Casilla is guilty of racially abusing Leko then he needs to serve the appropriate punishment because there is no place in the sport for racism.
Losing Casilla would be a huge blow to Leeds’ promotion push as he has been excellent this season and Meslier is an untested goalkeeper.
It will be interesting to see whether the club look to bring in a new goalkeeper in January.