Leko: justice at last

CAFC published a statement this week in light of The Football Association's publication of the reasons behind the independent Regulatory Commission's decision to find Kiko Casilla guilty of racial abuse of Jonathan Leko at The Valley last September. The statement includes a link to the full explanation from the Commission which comprised Graeme McPherson QC, Marvin Robinson and Stuart Ripley. The detailed explanation reflects very well on Jonathan Leko and Macauley Bonne.


Jonathan Leko issued his own statement:

"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. 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. By bringing the incident to the referee’s attention immediately, I was only doing what I have been educated to do throughout my career. But I found the hearing, at which I was made to feel I had done something wrong, extremely stressful. It made me question whether I would be prepared to go through it all again were I on the receiving end of similar abuse in the future. 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."

Charlton Chairman Matt Southall added his comments via Twitter:

"Reading Jonathan Leko's statement has left me deeply saddened. To think a black player would consider not reporting racist abuse aimed at them is shocking. Football has a duty of care to protect players who have been abused in this way. But, if the process is too demeaning, lengthy or damaging, what does that say about how far we've really come? To hear Jonathan so angry and distraught in his statement makes me wonder whether football as a sport is merely paying lip service to the fight against racism"