FA defends standard of proof in racism case against Leeds United’s Kiko Casilla

The FA has defended their use of the balance of probability as a standard of proof in the racism case against Leeds United goalkeeper Kiko Casilla.

BANNED: Leeds United goalkeeper, Kiko Casilla. Picture: Matt King/Getty Images

In a statement, released with the written reasons tonight at 5pm, an FA spokesperson said the standard of proof is the ‘most appropriate’ for a tribunal-based case like Casilla’s.

The Spaniard was banned for eight games, fined £60,000 and will have to attend face-to-face education after an independent regulatory commission found a breach of FA Rule E3(2) was proven. Casilla was alleged to have used racist language towards Jonathan Leko in United’s game at Charlton back in September.

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Leeds United took issue with the standard of proof, suggesting a higher standard was needed in cases of such a serious nature, with Casilla’s reputation at stake.

Charlton Athletic's Jonathan Leko battles for possession with Leeds' Gjanni Alioski during the Championship clash at The Valley back in September. Picture: Tony Johnson

An FA spokesperson said: “The FA wishes to provide clarity regarding the standard of proof used in its disciplinary proceedings, which is the civil standard. This means that cases will only be proven if the tribunal in question is satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the event in question occurred.

“This civil standard of proof is widely used in civil and regulatory forums, including the Civil Courts, Family Courts and professional regulatory bodies, such as the General Medical Council. It is also used by other Sports Governing Bodies. As such, it is applied industry wide and is the most appropriate standard for the tribunal-based forum in which FA cases are determined.

“As in this case, independent Regulatory Commissions will look for particularly compelling evidence before finding a serious allegation proven. In that regard, paragraphs 20-24 of the written reasons show that the independent Regulatory Commission considered and applied all the relevant case law in respect of the standard to be applied.

“While this matter was therefore appropriately decided to the civil standard, it is important to note that the QC led independent Regulatory Commission stated it was satisfied of the evidence in excess of the balance of probabilities when it said in paragraph 102 of the written reasons that: ‘we were satisfied to the requisite standard [the balance of probabilities] – and in reality, to a degree well above the requisite standard.’

“As is clear from the written reasons, the independent Regulatory Commission gave the evidence in this serious matter very close scrutiny. Following this thorough process, the independent Regulatory Commission came to the unanimous decision that Mr Casilla had racially abused a fellow player on the field of play.

“The FA would like to express its thanks to the witnesses in this case for their assistance, professionalism and full co-operation throughout the process.

“The FA would also like to reiterate its firm and unwavering commitment to tackling all forms of discrimination at every level of the game and encourages any participant or spectator who believes that they have been the subject of, or witness to, discriminatory abuse to report it through the respective appropriate channel: the match referee; CFA network; The FA or its partners at Kick It Out.