Valencia have hit back at Juan Cala after he strenuously denied allegations that he aimed a racial slur at Mouctar Diakhaby, with the defender claiming he was called a ‘s****y black’ by the Cadiz player.
The 24-year-old centre back was the target of alleged racist abuse at the Estadio Ramon de Carranza on Sunday, and reacted furiously after a first-half clash with Cala.
The Frenchman decided not to continue playing but asked his team-mates to return to the field to complete the game. Valencia lost 2-1.
Juan Cala says he is being ‘publicly lynched’ following accusations that he made a racial slur
Valencia star Mouctar Diakhaby walked off the pitch during the game with Cadiz on Sunday
Diakhaby explained to the referee that he heard Cala, 31, aim a racial slur in his direction
Diakhaby revealed in a two-minute video uploaded to his Twitter page on Tuesday that he heard Cala label him a ‘s****y black’ during the exchange.
‘In Cadiz on Sunday there is a play in which a player insults me and his words are “s****y black”‘, he said via Depor. ‘That is intolerable, I cannot consent to that. You all saw my reaction. That cannot happen in normal life and neither in football, which is a sport of respect.’
The Valencia star added that an unnamed Cadiz player asked if he would carry on playing if Cala apologised for the slur.
However, Cala defended himself in an extraordinary press conference.
The 31-year-old insists he said ‘leave me in peace’ to Diakhaby, as first reported by Dermot Corrigan, and that claims a team-mate had spoken to the Valencia player about an apology are ‘false’.
On Tuesday, the 24-year-old claimed that Cala called him a ‘s****y black’ during the exchange
Cala added that he would leave football if Diakhaby’s claims are proven true, and that he is being ‘publicly lynched’.
The Cadiz player went on to state that there is no proof against him and that he will pursue legal action against Valencia president Anil Murthy, while there is ‘no racism in Spanish football’.
Valencia have responded to Cala’s assertions, tweeting a statement with the caption: ‘Juan Cala, we don’t believe you’.
‘Valencia CF deeply regrets the statements of the Cadiz player, Juan Cala, in which 48 hours later he denies that he uttered a serious racist insult to our footballer, Mouctar Diakhaby, during the match played this past Sunday at the Ramón de Carranza,’ the statement read.
‘Juan Cala has lost a great opportunity to accept that mistake and apologise to the person affected. Instead, he has attacked the player himself and other members of Valencia CF.
Cala has strenuously denied the allegation, and hosted an extraordinary press conference
The defender said he would leave football if Diakhaby’s allegations were proven to be true
‘Valencia CF totally believes in its footballer and reiterates its full support for him. After the threats of Juan Cala in his press conference on Tuesday, April 6, the Club, its president Anil Murthy and his player Mouctar Diakhaby keep intact their deep conviction to fight where necessary and until the end for the good of the soccer.
‘Valencia CF will not stop fighting for the improvement of regulations and the fight against racism in football and in society.’
Tuesday’s statement is the latest in a number of moves the club has taken to back their man following Sunday’s alleged incident.
Since the game, Valencia have released a 10-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.
He also said he is being ‘publicly lynched’ and that he would sue Valencia chief Anil Murthy
And on Monday they continued their hardline policy against racism by uniting as a team once more.
Standing as one at training; the first-team squad, manager Javi Gracia, his coaching staff and president Anil Murthy all stood together and showed their palms of their right hand to indicate to put a stop to racism.
‘Today, tomorrow and always: STOP RACISM! Our full backing to @Diakhaby_5,’ they tweeted alongside the picture.
‘We’ll fight until the end to clarify what happened, defend our player and eradicate racism!’
Cadiz have also released a statement on their 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.
Cala further denied allegations that a team-mate asked Diakhaby if he would return to the pitch on the condition that Cala apologised
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 team-mate and Cadiz defender Fali.
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 understands that Diakhaby was left ‘devastated’ following the incident.
The French defender decided not to carry on the game but asked his team-mates 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.
Valencia have staunchly backed their man and released a photo of the squad standing as one
The rest of the Valencia players believe Diakhaby’s version of events and showed their 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 was reported by Carrusel Deportivo that Cala denied having said anything offensive to Diakhaby and was in a ‘state of shock’.
Diakhaby’s team-mate 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.
‘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 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.’
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’.