Cadiz-Valencia racism row escalates
Sports Desk, Apr 6 (efe-epa).- The fallout over an alleged racist incident that prompted Valencia’s players to temporarily walk off the pitch at Cadiz in last weekend’s LaLiga action continued on Tuesday with both players involved standing by their stories.
Valencia’s French defender Mouctar Diakhaby accused his Cadiz opponent Juan Cala of calling him a racist slur after the pair bumped into each other following a cross in Sunday’s league match. Diakhaby became visibly emotional and confronted Cala on the pitch.
The 24-year-old, who is black, released a video on social media Tuesday in which he reiterated his accusation.
“It’s intolerable, I cannot consent to it. You all saw my reaction. This can’t happen in normal life nor in football, which is a sport of respect,” he said.
“My teammates and I decided to head to the locker room. It was the right decision. Later, one of their players asked if we would return to the pitch if Cala apologized. We said no, that things don’t work that way, that you can’t do something, say sorry, and move on.”
Although the team walked off in solidarity with Diakhaby, they returned after a break without the defender, who went to sit in the stands to watch the remainder of the game.
In a statement, the club said the players were forced to finish the game under the threat of sanction.
Cala was later substituted, too.
The Andalusian player made his own appearance at a post-training press conference on Tuesday in which he said he was the victim of a media witch hunt and insisted he was innocent.
Visibly angered, Cala threatened legal action for slander and said he would quit football if the accusations were proven.
“There is no racism between players in Spanish football,” he said.
LaLiga has yet to issue a statement on the issue.
Responding to Cala on Tuesday, Valencia published a press release saying: “Juan Cala, we don’t believe you.”
“Cala has missed a great opportunity to accept his mistake and apologise to the player affected. Instead of doing this, he attacked both Diakhaby and other members of Valencia CF,” the statement said.
Cadiz went on to win Sunday’s game 2-1.
After the game, Cadiz, whose fan base is associated with left-wing politics, said any player, regardless of their team, should be punished for racist or xenophobic abuse.
It added in a statement that it trusted in the “honesty” of all members of the team.EFE-EPA