Former Leeds United striker, Noel Whelan, continues to be outraged by the eight game ban that goalkeeper Kiko Casilla has been punished with, despite the Football Association panel admitting they didn’t have concrete proof of his alleged racist comment against Jonathan Leko.
As fans will be well aware, he has been punished, fined and sent on an education course ‘on the balance of probability’ that he had said whatever had been claimed in the game against Charlton Athletic, and with fans already having their say on the subject of ‘proof’, Whelan is clearly singing from the same hymn sheet as he spoke to Football Insider this week.
“I think once again it has been pathetic by the FA. I know there is a system they have got to go through but the timing of when they gave it out on the Friday night before a game is shocking behaviour. They could have done it on a Monday but they like to disrupt everything the day before a game. It has been poorly handled. It has gone on far too long because this could have been done a month ago, month and a half ago. He could have been coming to the end of his ban but as normal the FA like to do it on the eve of a game. Really poor by the FA. It is completely unprofessional.”
Whelan was also right to pick up on the timing of the announcement, just as fans had, coming on the Friday evening ahead of the game against Hull City, although Illan Meslier coped admirably and kept the clean sheet despite learning late he would definitely be starting.
The debate about this will rumble on for a while I guess, but the FA should certainly be looking to revamp their procedures here as it certainly shouldn’t have taken this long for them to come to a conclusion, and there are certainly questions to ask about whether a lack of evidence should still lead to such a ban.
Where proof is irrefutable, yes the punishment should be severe for all the obvious reasons and I doubt anyone disagrees with that, but it shouldn’t be a coin flip.