Leeds United director Edoardo Cellino has denied breaking Football Association rules by making offensive comments toward United supporters on social media - despite apologising publicly for the remarks.
The FA confirmed today that Cellino, the son of Leeds owner Massimo Cellino, is contesting a misconduct charge from the governing body over online posts made by the 24-year-old last month.
Edoardo Cellino, who has been a director at Elland Road ever since his father’s takeover in 2014, reportedly called one Leeds fan a “spastic” and a “moron” during angry exchanges over Massimo Cellino’s running of the club.
The FA has charged him with a breach of FA Rule E3 and said the alleged offence is an “aggravated breach” because of the “reference to disability”.
In a statement to the Daily Mail issued shortly after the comments came to light, Edoardo Cellino said: “'I would like to apologise for any offence that I have caused.
“After receiving a lot of abusive messages my emotions got the better of me and I reacted in a way that was unprofessional.
“I believe the messages were private but I know I should not have done this. I did not fully understand the severity of the words used as English is not my first language. Again, I can only apologise.”
He had pleaded not guilty to breaching FA rules, however, and will have his case heard by an independent disciplinary commission. A date for the hearing is yet to be set.
Last year, Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston was banned from all footballing activity for six weeks and fined £40,000 by the FA after calling a supporter a “massive retard” in a text message.