Valencia’s La Liga game at Cadiz was temporarily halted as Valencia walked off the pitch in protest after the alleged racist abuse of one of their players.
The incident occurred just before the half-hour mark after Valencia’s Mouctar Diakhaby collided with Juan Cala as Cadiz launched a free-kick into the Valencia box.
The French defender was visibly angry and after a verbal exchange in which he had to be held back by teammate Kevin Gameiro and Cadiz’s Fali, he was shown a yellow card for unsportsmanlike conduct.
After speaking to the referee further to explain the reason for his outburst, the player walked off the pitch and down the tunnel alongside his teammates with the game poised at 1-1.
After the Valencia players held a meeting as to the best course of action, they returned to the pitch to continue the game around 20 minutes later.The club’s official Twitter page tweeted a defiant ‘No To Racism’ and confirmed the players would return “in order to fight for the honour of the club, but denounce racism of any kind”.Although Cala remained in the Cadiz line-up on the restart until being substituted at half-time, Diakhaby was replaced by Hugo Guillamon.A further tweet from Valencia stated they offer their complete backing to their player.It added: “The player, who had received a racial insult, requested that his teammates return to the pitch. WE SUPPORT YOU MOUCTAR. NO TO RACISM.”
After the game, Valencia captain Jose Gaya spoke about the incident and said: “Diakhaby mentioned to us there were some insults from the opposition, and we are not going to accept that.”We decided to leave the pitch and were just waiting to see what was going to happen.”We were going to stay with our team-mate but we were told we would have to leave the pitch, we came back on the pitch because we were told we were probably going to lose the game.”That’s what happened and Diakhaby asked us to return as well and that’s why we decided to come back.”We did what we were told – we were told to come back to the pitch or lose three points or possibly a few more but we did so because Diakhaby asked us to do so.”He told us to continue but he didn’t want to – he’s not happy after the game, he’s quite upset and very hurt.”On Monday, Cadiz confirmed Cala would address the media on Tuesday after a training session.A Cadiz club statement on Sunday said: “We are against any situation of racism or xenophobia, whoever the author, and we work for its eradication. All the perpetrators of these crimes, whether or not they are from our team, must pay for it.”We do not doubt the honesty of all members of our squad, who are firm defenders of the fight against racism, whose attitude has always been exemplary in all the matches that have been played.”The club cannot enter into assessments of the issues of the game between the players, and we always demand an attitude of respect and responsibility towards the opponents.”Gameiro’s 19th-minute strike for Valencia had cancelled out Cala’s opener for Cadiz at the Carranza Stadium before the game was halted.Cadiz went on to win the match 2-1 thanks to an 88th-minute header by Marcos Mauro, moving further away from the relegation zone.