Leeds United: Commission criticises Doukara biting evidence

Souleymane Doukara
Souleymane Doukara
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The commission which found Souleymane Doukara guilty of biting Fernando Amorebieta has criticised the evidence given by the Leeds United striker during last month’s hearing.

The three-man panel responsible for ruling that Doukara bit Amorebieta during a 1-1 draw between Leeds and Fulham in February said Doukara had failed to “present well as a witness” or offer a “credible explanation” for Amorebieta’s injuries.

Doukara was banned for eight matches and fined £5,000 after being charged by the Football Association with violent conduct over an incident in the second half of United’s Championship clash with Fulham at Elland Road on February 23.

The Frenchman was involved in a coming-together with Amorebieta inside the Leeds box as Fulham mounted an attack in the 54th-minute. The alleged bite was not spotted by referee Kevin Wright.

An independent commission used photographs of injuries to the defender's chest, video footage and additional evidence from Fulham secretary Jennifer Urquhart and physio Tim Maynard to decide that Doukara had bitten Amorebieta.

The lengthy suspension meted out to Doukara has ruled him out until the last game of United’s Championship term.

Fernando Amorebieta (left) during United's 1-1 draw with Fulham

Fernando Amorebieta (left) during United's 1-1 draw with Fulham

Doukara denied the charge against him but while the commission described Amorebieta as a “very believable and reliable witness”, its written verdict said Doukara “did not present well as a witness.”

“He gave no credible explanation as to how the injury to Mr Amorebieta had occurred if it had not been from a bite from himself,” the commission’s verdict read.

“He seemed to think that if the bite had not actually been seen then he would be exonerated – ‘you can’t know if I did that’.”

Doukara claimed the injury had been caused accidentally during a collision between the pair.

The commission said Doukara was “at a loss as to why Fulham had flagged up the incident but speculated that it was perhaps a way for Fulham to gain an advantage over Leeds United and enhance their prospects of finishing in a higher league position at the end of the season.”

Amorebieta, who was sent off in the final seconds of the game for a second bookable offence, was advised by Fulham to undertake a seven-day course of antibiotics because “biting carries a risk of infection.”

The verdict concluded: “It is clear to the commission that the mark was made by a bite.

“From the available photographs the commission could see that the mark was circular in nature and teeth marks can be seen at the outer edges of the mark.”

The panel heard that Fulham had taken seven days to submit a complaint to the FA, a delay which Urquhart said was down to her being abroad on annual leave.

Leeds claimed Doukara had been prejudiced by the delay and prevented from seeking for a medical assessment of Amorebieta’s injury.

Neither United nor Doukara have made any extended comment since his ban was announced by the FA on March 31. Leeds said they would delay a full response until after they received the commission’s written judgement.

United were asked by the YEP today if they planned to contest the verdict or the punishment handed down to Doukara. They were also asked what internal club sanctions would be taken against Doukara if no challenge was lodged. Leeds have not responded.