The Valencia players left the field in the 29th minute of their clash with Cadiz in La Liga on Sunday after Mouctar Diakhaby fell victim to alleged racist comment.
The score was 1-1 when Diakhaby was involved in an altercation with Juan Cala of Cadiz. Valencia’s Gabriel Paulista threw the ball out of play and the players on both sides left.
After a brief hiatus, the players returned to the field but Diakhaby did not return and Hugo Guillamon took his place.
“We offer Mouctar Diakhaby our full support,” said a tweet Valencia’s side read. “The player who received a racial slur asked his teammates to return to the field. WE SUPPORT YOU MOUCTAR. NO TO RACISM.”
Diakhaby watched the rest of the first half from the stands.
After the game, Valencia defender Jose Gaya said the team had been asked to return to the field.
“Diakhaby told us he heard a racial slur so we all left. We were told we had to play because if we didn’t they’d take the three points from us and maybe we’d get more Docked points. ” Gaya told the Spanish network Movistar.
“Diakhaby asked us to keep playing, we wouldn’t have done it if he hadn’t. He said he wasn’t in the mood to keep playing. He’s devastated.”
Referee David Medie Jimenez said in his report that Diakhaby told him Cala made a racist charge against him, although Cadiz coach Alvaro Cervera said his player assured him he did not offend the Frenchman.
It was the first time a La Liga game was abandoned on allegations of racism.
Gaya said he heard the comment Cala made about Diakhaby.
“It was a very ugly insult that I won’t repeat. We couldn’t speak to Cala because he was the last player to leave the field. I’m sure he said something. It was a very strange game “Said Gaya.
Valencia coach Javi Gracia said Diakhaby was “seriously offended and quite shaken”.
He added: “Logically, we decided to tell the referee that we disagree [playing on] and that we didn’t want to continue playing. While in the locker room we were told we could potentially be sanctioned if we don’t return.
“We spoke to Diakhaby, he said he couldn’t play but he understood that we have to come back to play instead of being sanctioned and that’s why we came back with the intention of fighting for victory.”
Gracia added that the referee and assistants did not know what had been said to Diakhaby. He also did not disclose who had told his team they could be sanctioned.
Cadiz issued a statement saying the club was “against any manifestation of racism or xenophobia, regardless of who the perpetrator is,” but made no mention of Cala.
“We do not doubt the honesty of all members of our squad who believe strongly in the fight against racism and whose attitude has always been exemplary in every game,” he added.
“The club cannot evaluate incidents in a game between players and we always ask that our players show respect and responsibility towards their opponents.”
Cala had given Cadiz the lead in the 14th minute before Kevin Gameiro equalized for Valencia five minutes later. Marcos Mauro scored the 2-1 victory for Cadiz in the 88th minute.