Leeds United goalkeeper Kiko Casilla has been banned for eight games and fined £60,000 for racist comments made to Charlton winger Jonathan Leko.
Leko, on loan from West Brom, made the allegation after Charlton beat Leeds 1-0 at the Valley in September.
Following an investigation, Casilla was charged by the FA in November under rule E3 and the Spaniard “strenuously” denied the allegation, according to a Leeds statement.
Casilla posted a message on his Twitter account saying he felt “truly sad and devastated” about being accused of making a racist comment.
“[The] last five months have been the most difficult ones in my professional career,” he wrote.
“I am sure my family, friends, colleagues and the different technical teams whom I have been working with for all these years know that I would NEVER use my words with a racist meaning. I would like to deeply thank Leeds for its support during this time and I appreciate the support of our amazing fans, whose warmth has strengthened me.”
Leeds released a statement responding to the suspension, saying the club “do not tolerate any form of discrimination” but added it is “important to recognise” that Casilla “has always denied making any racist comment”.
Former Real Madrid goalkeeper Casilla joined Leeds in January 2019 and has been an ever-present for the Championship club this season. His suspension could impact their promotion bid, with the Whites second in the table and five points clear of third-placed Fulham as they bid to return to the Premier League for the first time since suffering relegation in 2003-04.