Valencia WALK OFF against Cadiz in support of Mouctar Diakhaby after alleged racist abuse… and Javi Gracia’s side claim they were told they HAD to resume to avoid PUNISHMENT – with abandonment causing 3-0 loss
- Mouctar Diakhaby was visibly unhappy following a comment by a Cadiz player
- Diakhaby was devastated by the incident and felt he couldn’t return to the game
- However he urged his team-mates to continue to avoid the risk of forfeiting
- Valencia released a ten-point statement following the incident on Sunday
- Juan Cala has ‘strenuously denied’ allegations he racially abused Diakhaby
Valencia players walked off the pitch during their game with Cadiz after an alleged racist remark was aimed at defender Mouctar Diakhaby.
The 24-year-old defender reacted furiously after a first-half clash with Cadiz’s Juan Cala which saw him receive a yellow card.
Diakhaby was visibly angry at something that was said, though Cala has since ‘strenuously denied’ allegations against him suggesting he racially abused the centre back.
Valencia defender Mouctar Diakhaby was unhappy following a comment by a Cadiz player
Diakhaby explained his position to the referee before deciding to walk off the pitch
Since the game, Valencia have released a ten-point statement entitled ‘no to racism’ on their official website.
They say that Diakhaby is the ‘latest victim of racism in football’ and that it is a ‘sad day’ for the sport.
Cadiz have also released a statement on their official website in which they say they are ‘against all forms of racism’ and have ‘complete confidence in the integrity’ of their squad members who are ‘staunch supporters’ of the fight against racism.
The incident happened 30 minutes into the LaLiga clash between the two sides – Diakhaby was seen shouting at Cala after their clash and was held back by a teammate and Cadiz defender Fali.
The match was suspended after 30 minutes when the Valencia players walked off the pitch
He then spoke to the referee to explain what had taken place, before moments later walking off the pitch followed by his teammates as well as opposing players.
Sportsmail understand that Diakhaby was left ‘devastated’ following the incident.
The French defender decided not to carry on the game but asked his teammates to return to the field to complete the game.
Referee David Medie Jimenez said in his report that Diakhaby had told him Cala had used a racial slur against him, although Cadiz manager Alvaro Cervera said his player had assured him he had not insulted the Frenchman.
It was the first time a LaLiga match had been halted following an accusation of racism.
The rest of the Valencia players believe Diakhaby’s version of events and showed this solidarity by walking off the pitch together.
Both sets of players were given five minutes to warm up before resuming the game, while Diakhaby opted to watch on from the stands.
After the game it has been reported by Carrusel Deportivo that Cala denies having said anything offensive to Diakhaby and is in a ‘state of shock’.
Diakhaby’s teammate Jose Gaya spoke after the game and suggested that Valencia would have forfeited the game if they hadn’t gone back onto the pitch.
He told Spanish network Movistar: ‘Diakhaby told us he heard a racist insult so we all went off the pitch.
Valencia players would return to the pitch on the backing of Diakhaby who did not continue
‘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. Diakhaby asked us to play on, we wouldn’t have done so if he hadn’t done so. He said he wasn’t in the right state of mind to keep playing. 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’.
Cadiz coach Alvaro Cervera took Cala off at half-time, and said he did it because he was already on a booking and did not want to risk him getting sent off.
The manager added also that he believed his player’s denial of racial abuse. Valencia coach Javi Gracia said his player had been ‘seriously insulted’ and was ‘quite shaken’.
He added: ‘Diakhaby said to us that he was not in the proper state of mind to continue to play, but he understood that we had to go back on the pitch to avoid some sort of punishment.’
It marked the first time a LaLiga game has been abandoned after an accusation of racism
There has been reaction on social media to the incident with Spanish Villarreal defender Pau Torres tweeting: ‘Say no to racism’.
FIFPro also tweeted saying: ‘The situation in the Cadiz v Valencia match today raises serious concerns. We will be monitoring the situation around the match together with our colleagues from AFE.
‘Whilst a lot is yet to be investigated, the notion that pressure existed towards a team that responded in collective solidarity with a teammate to continue a match under threat of sanction shows flaws in both the regulation and the response to anti-discrimination action.
‘Tonight’s events show again that the protocols built to protect players in situations of discriminatory abuse are actually prioritising protection of the match, which is not only a failure of the system but can also further harm the individuals who are already impacted.’
Valencia’s 10-point statement ‘No To Racism’
1. Mouctar Diakhaby today became the latest victim of racism in football.
2. After receiving a racial insult -unacceptable in any circumstances- he was shown a yellow card for his protests.
3. We are proud of the support that Diakhaby received from his teammates, and of the decision taken to leave the field of play together.
4. We trust that the matter will be investigated.
5. We are disappointed that no official decision was taken.
6. The Club does not ask the players to return to the pitch. The referee informed the players of the consequences of not going back out onto the field of play. The players, forced to play under threat of penalty after the racist insults and the yellow card to Diakhaby, decide to return to the pitch.
7. Diakhaby requested that his teammates return to the pitch to continue the game. They respected his wish.
8. The events of today should not be repeated ever again on a football pitch.
9. Valencia CF strongly oppose racism in all forms and stands with Diakhaby. Today is a sad day for our sport.
10. Today was not a loss in a game. It was a loss respect, a loss of the spirit of football and sport.
Cadiz club statement
Following the events that occurred during the match against Valencia Club de Fútbol, Cádiz Club de Fútbol wishes to make the following remarks:
– We are against all forms of racism or xenophobia, regardless of who is responsible, and work hard to help eradicate this. Anyone guilty of such an offence, whether or not they belong to our team, must be punished.
– We have complete confidence in the integrity of our squad members, who are staunch supporters of the fight against racism and have at all times shown an exemplary attitude in every match the team has played.
– The club cannot comment on incidents that arise between players during the course of the play, and always demands respect and responsibility from its players in their attitude towards opponents.
– We work hard, and will continue to work hard, to stamp all xenophobic behaviour out of the game, offering a loud and clear message of ‘NO TO RACISM’.