Monday 17 December 2018

'My actions were inexcusable' - Leeds' Samuel Saiz apologises after getting six-week ban for spitting at opponent

Leeds player Samuel Saiz (21) is held back by team mates after being red carded during The Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Newport County and Leeds United at Rodney Parade
Leeds player Samuel Saiz (21) is held back by team mates after being red carded during The Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Newport County and Leeds United at Rodney Parade

Phil Blanche

Leeds forward Samuel Saiz has apologised for his "inexcusable" actions after being handed a six-game ban for spitting at Newport midfielder Robbie Willmott in Sunday's FA Cup tie.

The Sky Bet Championship club accepted Saiz's charge from the Football Association following an incident which happened in the final moments of Newport's 2-1 FA Cup third-round victory at Rodney Parade.

"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," read a Leeds statement.

"Leeds United will make no further comment at this time."

Saiz issued his own statement at the same time, saying: "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 AFC.

"I would also like to apologise to Newport County AFC 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 Football Club 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."

Referee Mike Dean showed Saiz a straight red card, just moments after Shawn McCoulsky's headed winner for Newport, and later confirmed that the Spaniard had been sent off for spitting.

UEFA's rulebook punishes spitting with a mandatory six-game ban and the FA announced Saiz's suspension on their official website on Monday morning.

Saiz, 26. will be sidelined until the Sky Bet Championship fixture at Derby on February 20, missing six league games as Leeds bid to maintain their play-off challenge.

It is not the first time that Saiz has been involved in a spitting row since joining Leeds from Huesca last summer.

Port Vale manager Michael Brown said Saiz spat at his defender Joe Davis during a Carabao Cup tie in August.

But the FA did not bring any charges against the Spaniard on that occasion.

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