LEEDS UNITED defender Giuseppe Bellusci will be free to return to action after today’s clash with Brentford after the Football Association found the Italian not guilty of racially abusing Norwich City striker Cameron Jerome.
The Italian was charged on December 22 following the incident in the 1-1 Sky Bet Championship draw on October 21, where he was alleged to have directed a racial insult at Huddersfield-born Jerome.
But an independent regulatory commission dropped the case at a personal hearing yesterday after Bellusci denied the charge.
Bellusci, who will today serve the second of a two-game suspension following his red card against Bournemouth last month, always refuted the claim, insisting that he used no racist language.
An Elland Road spokesman, in welcoming the FA verdict, said: “Giuseppe has made it clear from the moment the incident happened that he did not use racist language, and the FA commission has found that to be the case.
“Leeds United is a fully inclusive organisation and through the efforts of the Leeds United Foundation aims to work with every aspect of our community by celebrating diversity and recognising cultural differences.”
The FA, meanwhile, accepted the decision, while also making it clear that the governing body will continue to bring future cases forward.
They also acknowledged that Jerome proved an “honest and truthful” witness.
Director of football governance, Darren Bailey, said: “We acknowledge the decision and we will take our time to assess and digest the reasons behind the verdict.
“We will of course await the written reasons of the Independent Regulatory Commission, but it remains essential that the FA continues to bring forward charges where we believe there is a credible case to answer.
“We fully and promptly investigated this matter from the moment it was brought to our attention and this underlines our commitment to the reporting process, which has been strengthened by both the FA and Kick It Out over recent years.
“We note that the Independent Regulatory Commission stated that the complainant was a truthful and honest witness. I would stress to any players involved in incidents where they believe discrimination has taken place to report it to us immediately.
“The FA has clear procedures on how to do this for those who wish to make a complaint.”