Bowyer and Southall speak following FA verdict

Lee Bowyer and Matt Southall have spoken following Tuesday's publication by the FA of the written reasons in relation to the suspension of Leeds United goalkeeper Kiko Casilla.

Last week Casilla was suspended for eight matches with immediate effect, fined £60,000 and told to attend face-to-face education after a breach of FA Rule E3(2) was found proven by an independent Regulatory Commission.

The club published a statement on Tuesday following the publication the written reasons.

A statement from Jonathan Leko was published on West Bromwich Albion's website on Tuesday evening.

Speaking at his pre-Middlesbrough press conference on Thursday, Bowyer said: "It’s been difficult, the most important thing now is that it’s been dealt with and we can move on. In an ideal world for us, and I guess that Leeds would say the same, it would have been resolved quicker. I don’t think it’s been fair on both clubs and for all the players involved for it to have gone on for as long as it did. Especially for Jonathan Leko and for Macauley Bonne.

"It’s taken too long. To have something like that hovering over you, as a young player, it’s difficult. It’s not a nice thing to have to carry. I have to say that us as a football club have been there supporting him since day one.

"As a club we don’t agree with racism. We don’t want it in football and this club does a lot of work around the community with all different aspects. We know we’ve done the right thing by Jonathan and we’ve supported him throughout the whole process.

"You can see he wasn't himself, because he's a bubbly lad, he's a young lad, very confident, and he was a bit quiet for a while after. But then us as a group, we got him through that, and then he started to become himself again.

"As soon as the verdict came out, I rang him, just to make sure he was ok. Now that it's over, he just said he's glad it's over and he can move on."

Executive chairman Matt Southall tweeted: "Reading Jonathan Leko’s statement has left me deeply saddened. To think a black player would consider not reporting racist abuse aimed at them is shocking.

"Football has a duty of care to protect players who have been abused in this way. But if the process is too demeaning, lengthy or damaging, what does that say about how far we’ve truly come?

"To hear Jonathan so angry and distraught in his statement makes me wonder whether football as a sport is merely paying lip service to the fight against racism."

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