Massimo Cellino is confident Giuseppe Bellusci is no racist, and has promised to clamp down heavily on any of his staff who would be found guilty of such a crime.
The Football Association is investigating an accusation from Norwich City striker Cameron Jerome, who claims he was racially abused by Bellusci during the 1-1 draw between the two teams on Tuesday. It has not been revealed exactly what was said, and the former Birmingham City player has since tweeted that it would be inappropriate to disclose such information publicly at this time.
Cellino, though, appears confident that his employee will be found innocent of the accusation. The Leeds owner claims he spoke to Bellusci, an Italian compatriot, after the match, in order to ascertain his side of events. Further to this, the Elland Road chief has made it clear that he will not condone any racist behaviour at his club, and anyone found guilty of such a crime will be kicked out.
“Bellusci is no racist,” he told the Yorkshire Evening Post. “I spoke with him and he said ‘you must be joking, I said nothing like this to him (Jerome).’ He is surprised by this. He is shocked. I don’t allow racists at this club and I won’t allow racists at this club ever. If one of my players is a racist, I’ll kick him out before the FA has a chance. Bellusci says he spoke (to Jerome) in Italian. I don’t know if he speaks Italian too but Bellusci swears to me he said nothing racist. I believe him and I’ll support him.”
Meanwhile, the Leeds United Supporters Trust (LUST) issued a statement which read: “The Leeds United Supporters Trust condemns all racism in football without hesitation. Leeds United fans have been at the forefront of fighting discrimination in the game and they will rightly be concerned by the serious allegations made by Cameron Jerome. However, Giuseppe Bellusci is entitled to the full FA/Football League process, which we hope will be resolved quickly, accurately and fairly. Until the outcome of that process, it is not right for the Supporters Trust to comment further.”