February 28, 2020 / 9:49 PM / 5 months ago

Soccer: Leeds goalkeeper handed eight-game ban after racism charge

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Championship - Brentford v Leeds United - Griffin Park, London, Britain - February 11, 2020 Leeds United's Kiko Casilla Action Images/Peter Cziborra

(Reuters) - Leeds United goalkeeper Kiko Casilla was banned for eight matches and fined 60,000 pounds ($77,964.00) on Friday after being found guilty of racist abuse in a Championship match against Charlton Athletic last September.

The FA said the 33-year-old Spaniard, who joined Leeds from Real Madrid last year, must also attend face-to-face education after the breach of rule E3 (2) which covers discriminatory abuse.

Casilla had denied using racially abusive or insulting words. Media reports said the incident involved Charlton forward Jonathan Leko, who was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo but has represented England at various age group levels.

The Spaniard said in a statement on social media that he was “sad and devastated” at being accused and believed firmly that racism should not be tolerated in any walk of life.

“I do not feel at all that the guilty verdict is a clear reflection of the incident,” he said.

“I am sure that my family, friends, colleagues and the different technical teams who I have been working with for all these years in my professional career know I would never use my words with a racist meaning,” he added.

“My respectful behavior towards my opponents since I started my career has been honest and with the maximum sense of fairplay.”

Leeds acknowledged the decision in a statement here but observed that the FA panel "have based their decision on the balance of probability rather than proving Kiko to be guilty beyond reasonable doubt."

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ken Ferris

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