Leeds United defender Giuseppe Bellusci was at the centre of allegations of racist abuse last night after a 1-1 draw with Norwich City.
The Football Association is set to look into claims that Bellusci aimed a racial slur at Norwich striker Cameron Jerome during the first half of United’s Championship game at Carrow Road. Bellusci and Jerome were involved in a heated confrontation on the edge of United’s penalty area 25 minutes into the league fixture in Norfolk.
Referee Mark Clattenburg spoke with both benches immediately after the off-the-ball clash and will submit a report to the FA later today, detailing the incident and Jerome’s claims.
United head coach Darko Milanic declined to comment at full-time, saying he would speak with Bellusci during the coach journey home to Yorkshire, but Norwich manager Neil Adams confirmed Jerome’s allegations of racism shortly after the final whistle.
“Cameron’s alleged that a racist remark’s been made,” Adams said. “Because of that, Mark Clattenburg – who I thought handled the incident really well – came over to explain to Darko and me what I’m telling you now.
“He (Clattenburg) spoke to Cameron because of the way Cameron reacted. We spoke to the players at half-time with representatives of each of the clubs, and statements will be made. Mark will submit a report to the FA. It’ll be dealt with from there.”
Clattenburg did not punish either player over the original incident but Jerome was booked moments later after another collision with Bellusci.
Jerome remained on the pitch until his substitution in the 87th minute.
“I can’t comment any further because it’s an allegation,” Adams said. “Of course we’ll back our player and I’m sure Leeds will back their player. The situation was dealt with well.”
Bellusci is in his first season in English football having joined Leeds from Serie A club Catania in August, originally on loan and subsequently on a four-year deal for a fee of around £1.6m.
He has been a regular in United’s line-up this season, scoring twice in games against Bournemouth and Sheffield Wednesday.
Speaking after full-time, Milanic said: “After the game I’m not used to going to the changing room. I now have five hours on the bus to talk with him. I haven’t talked with the player.
“For me it’s difficult to comment on something I didn’t hear and something that is new for me. It is better if other people in the club comment on this.”
The incident overshadowed a tight and unspectacular contest at Carrow Road where Leeds fought back from a goal down to earn a point through Souleymane Doukara’s 63rd-minute goal.
Russell Martin had given Norwich the lead four minutes earlier with a free header, though Milanic accused Clattenburg of missing a foul by Jerome on Rodolph Austin as the ball came into United’s box.
Milanic, who is now without a win in five games as head coach, said: “We played against a good team, they put a lot of pressure on us.
“Maybe in attack we didn’t have a lot of time to create chances because they were aggressive but defensively we were good and so was the team spirit. The goal was really good.”