London: Leeds defender Giuseppe Bellusci was charged with misconduct by the Football Association on Monday after allegedly making racist comments to Norwich striker Cameron Jerome.
The incident occurred in Leeds` 1-1 Championship draw with Norwich at Carrow Road on October 21 when Jerome complained to referee Mark Clattenburg that he was verbally abused by the 25-year-old Italian midway through the first half following a confrontation between the two players.
Clattenburg stopped the game and had words with both dug-outs following the exchange.
The FA confirmed they were investigating Jerome`s allegations and, in a statement, alleged that Bellusci`s comments "included a reference to ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race".
Leeds owner Massimo Cellino defended Bellusci, a pre-season signing from Catania, in the aftermath of the incident, but suggested he could be kicked out of the club if found guilty.
"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 his a**e and kick him out before the FA has a chance.
"Bellusci says he spoke (to Jerome) in Italian. I don`t know if he (Jerome) speaks Italian too but Bellusci swears to me he said nothing racist. I believe him and I`ll support him."
Leeds reacted by releasing a statement confirming Bellusci would be contesting the charge.
The statement on Leeds` official website said: "The player has consistently made it clear to the club that he did not use racist language.
"The club understands that there is no third party evidence supporting Mr Jerome`s allegation. Accordingly, the player will be contesting the charge."