Jonathan Leko has criticised Kick It Out and the Professional Footballers’ Association for what he claims was their lack of support during his racism case against Kiko Casilla.
Leko also criticised the process that led to Casilla being handed an eight-match ban on Friday, calling it “extremely stressful” and adding he had been “made to feel I had done something wrong”.
The Leeds goalkeeper was found to have used racist language towards Leko, who was then playing for Charlton during a Championship match on 28 September. Leko, who has returned to his parent club West Brom because of injury, said he is “relieved” the process is 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 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.
Leko, who was born in DR Congo, also said: “I am naturally relieved the process is now complete and the FA has 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. 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 case had left him questioning “whether I would be prepared to go through it all again were I on the receiving end of similar abuse”. 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 while a reaction was being sought from Kick It Out and Show Racism The Red Card.