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Casilla denies the charge of racist abuse
Monday, 4th Nov 2019 22:10 by Tim Whelan

Kiko Casilla has denied the FA charge of racially abusing Jonathan Leko of Charlton Athletic, but he will face a ban of up to 12 games if he is found guilty of the offence.

The FA announced last month that it was investigating the allegation after Charlton confirmed the incident had been reported to the referee. Lip readers and Spanish interpreters were used to determine exactly what was said to Leko and today the FA made the decision to formally charge our 33 year-old goalkeeper.

They said that "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’... as they made reference to race and/or colour and/or ethnic origin.”

Casilla has until Nov. 12 to respond, but he got his denial in early as the club Leeds released a statement on the official website to acknowledge the charge. "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.”

I’ve seen it suggested on Facebook that all Casilla actually said was “marca al chico negro”, or “Mark the black player”. If that’s true the whole charge is a lot of fuss about nothing, as it would just be a convenient way of describing the player to be marked, given that the said marking would need to be done pretty sharpish.

Certainly a ‘reference to colour’, but it could hardly be said to be ‘insulting’ when the word ‘negro’ is a proper scientific term. But if that’s really what he said and it was an instruction to a colleague, who would he have been talking to? Hernandez is the only other Spaniard in the senior squad, and he missed the Charlton game through injury. No doubt the truth will come out when the case is heard.

If Casilla does get a 12 game ban and it starts from his personal hearing on November 12th, the next time after that we’d see him in action would be the league game at QPR on January 18th, or possibly in an FA cup replay a few days before that. Though at least we’d see plenty of Illan Meslier, in a season when there have been a few complaints about our loan players getting very little game time.

Obviously it would be very nice if Casilla gets off, but no doubt in the current climate, post Bulgaria v. England and Haringey v. Yeovil, the FA will be under pressure to throw the book at him, whatever the rights and wrongs of what he actually said.

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