Valencia were told by the organizers to continue playing Sunday’s La Liga match at Cadiz, otherwise they would have to lose points after leaving the pitch when Mouctar Diakhaby complained that he had been subjected to racial abuse, says co-defender Jose Gaya.
Valencia’s players went off the field in the 29th minute after Frenchman Diakhaby reacted furiously after a quarrel with Cadiz’s Spanish midfielder Juan Cala.
Referee David Medie Jimenez said in his report that Diakhaby had told him that Cala had used a race against him, although Cadiz coach Alvaro Cervera said his players had assured him that he had not insulted the Frenchman.
It was the first time a La Liga match was stopped after an accusation of racism.
The players eventually returned to the pitch but did so without Diakhaby, who said he was not in the right state of mind to continue playing and was replaced.
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The player, who received a racial insult, requested that his teammates return to the field.
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Diakhaby also received a yellow card before the Valencia players left the pitch to argue with Cala.
The score was then 1-1 when the visitors left and Cadiz won the match 2-1 after an 88th minute strike from Marcos Mauro, who came off the bench to replace Cala.
“Diakhaby told us he heard a racist insult so we all went off the field. We were told we had to play because if we didn’t they would take away the three points and maybe we would dock more points” Gaya told the Spanish network Movistar.
“Diakhaby asked us to play, we would not have done it if he had not done it. He said he was not in the right state of mind to continue playing. He is devastated.”
Gaya added that he had heard the comment Cala made to Diakhaby and described it as “a very ugly insult that I will not repeat”.
Cadiz coach Cervera said he took Cala off at half-time because he was already on a booking and did not want to risk being sent off, adding that he thought his players were being denied.
Cala had given Cadiz the lead in the 14th minute before Kevin Gameiro soon equalized for the visitors.
La Liga did not respond to a request for comment on Gaya’s statements.
Valencia coach Javi Gracia said Diakhaby had been “seriously insulted and was quite shaken”.
“Victim of racism”
Valencia released a statement saying Diakhaby had “become another victim of racism in football” and lamented the fact that “after being subjected to an unacceptable racist insult, he received a yellow card for protesting”.
The statement also said the judge warned them of the consequences of not returning to the pitch.
“Today is a sad day for our sport. We not only lost a game today, we lost respect and spirit in football.”
Cadiz released a statement saying the club was “against all manifestations of racism or xenophobia, regardless of who the perpetrator is” but did not mention Cala.
“We do not doubt the honesty of all members of our group, who are firm believers in the fight against racism and whose attitude in every game has always been exemplary,” it added.
“The club cannot judge incidents in a match between players and we always demand that our players show respect and responsibility towards their opponents.”