April 6 – Valencia’s La Liga fixture at Cádiz on Sunday was suspended for 20 minutes after the visitors walked off the pitch in solidarity with one of their players who said he was subjected to racist abuse.
Mouctar Diakhaby reacted furiously after a first-half altercation with Cadiz defender Juan Cala and Valencia’s players left the pitch in protest.
The game later resumed but without Diakhaby, who was not in the right frame of mind and was substituted.
The score was 1-1 when the visitors walked off and Cadiz went on to win the game 2-1 after an 88th minute winner.
It was the first time a La Liga match had been halted following an accusation of racism and Valencia defender Jose Gaya said after the game that the team either had to carry on or forfeit the points.
The referee said in his report that Diakhaby had told him Cala had used a racial slur although Cadiz coach Alvaro Cervera said his player had assured him he had not insulted the Frenchman.
“Diakhaby told us he heard a racist insult so we all went off the pitch. We were told that we had to play because if we didn’t they would take the three points off us and maybe we’d be docked more points,” Gaya told Spanish network Movistar.
“Diakhaby asked us to play on, we wouldn’t have done so if he hadn’t done so. He is devastated.”
Gaya added he had heard the comment Cala made to Diakhaby, describing it as “a very ugly insult which I won’t repeat”.
Valencia released a statement saying Diakhaby had “become another victim of racism in football” and lamenting the fact that “after being subjected to an intolerable racist insult he received a yellow card for protesting”.
“Today is a sad day for our sport. We didn’t just lose a game today, we lost the respect and spirit of football.”
Cadiz of course saw things differently saying the club was “against any manifestation of racism or xenophobia, regardless of who the perpetrator is”.
“We don’t doubt the honesty of all members of our squad, who are firm believers in the fight against racism and whose attitude in every game has always been exemplary,” it added.
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