SAMUEL SAIZ has accepted a six-match ban and apologised for “inexcusable actions” after being sent off for spitting at Newport County’s Robbie Willmott during Leeds United’s FA Cup defeat at Rodney Parade.
Saiz will be suspended until the latter part of next month having admitted to spitting at Willmott during yesterday’s FA Cup third-round tie.
Leeds described Saiz’s actions as “unacceptable” and said their Spanish playmaker would face internal disciplinary action over the incident in Wales.
In a statement, Saiz apologised to Leeds, Newport and Willmott and promised to “learn from this situation and never repeat it.”
“I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely apologise to the players, staff and supporters of Leeds United for my behaviour in yesterday’s game at Newport County,” Saiz said.
“I would also like to apologise to Newport County and Robbie Willmott for my actions. I accept the punishment handed to me by the FA.
“My actions are inexcusable. I give my word to all those connected to Leeds United that I will learn from this situation and never repeat it.
“I am grateful for the support I receive from our fans and I understand that I am a role model to the next generation of Leeds supporters. I will ensure that my behaviour moving forward reflects that.”
The 26-year-old was dismissed by referee Mike Dean in injury-time, seconds after League Two Newport had snatched a 2-1 win in the penultimate minute of the game. Saiz and County midfielder Willmott clashed in the centre circle as Leeds were preparing to restart the tie.
Dean’s match report was submitted to the FA this morning and the governing body immediately imposed a six-game ban on Saiz, in line with regulations drawn up to punish spitting three-and-a-half years ago.
The sanction will force him to sit on the sidelines until at least United’s trip to Derby County on February 20. The club’s meeting with Hull City, scheduled for January 27, is due to be rearranged after Hull reached round four of the FA Cup.
A statement from United read: “Leeds United and Samuel Saiz accept the charge from the FA regarding an incident in the final moments of Sunday’s Emirates FA Cup tie at Newport County.
“Samuel’s behaviour was unacceptable and the player will now be subject to an internal disciplinary hearing on top of serving a six-game ban.”
The loss of the talented Spaniard is a huge blow to head coach Thomas Christiansen, at a time when United’s fight for promotion is in the balance.
The club lie sixth in the table with a one-point advantage over Aston Villa. Saiz, who has scored nine times since a summer move from Huesca, will begin his ban when Leeds travel to Ipswich Town on Saturday.
The accusation of spitting is the second levelled against him this season. Former Port Vale manager Michael Brown claimed Saiz had spat at defender Joe Davis during Vale’s League Cup defeat to Leeds at Elland Road in August but a subsequent FA investigation cleared him of wrongdoing.