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Valencia stage Cadiz walk off after Mouctar Diakhaby alleges racial abuse

Matt O'Connor-Simpson
Apr 5, 2021, 12:15 PM GMT+1
Mouctar Diakhaby was substituted at half time
Mouctar Diakhaby was substituted at half time | Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Valencia walked off the pitch midway through their La Liga game against Cadiz on Sunday night, after Mouctar Diakhaby was subject to alleged racist abuse.

With 30 minutes on the clock, Diakhaby clashed with opposition defender Juan Cala in Valencia's penalty area before the pair engaged in a heated discussion. Shortly after, Diakhaby was visibly distressed by something Cala had said, resulting in Cadiz's Fali and Valencia forward Kevin Gameiro forcefully intervening to separate the pair.

Diakhaby, who was booked by the referee, then explained what had happened before walking off the field, and he was soon joined by the rest of his Valencia teammates.

Valencia remained off the pitch for some time, with their official Twitter account releasing the following statement: "No to racism. The team have held a meeting and decided to continue the game, in order to fight for the honour of the club, but denounce racism of any kind.

"We offer our complete backing to Diakhaby. The player, who had received a racial insult, requested that his teammates return to the pitch. WE SUPPORT YOU MOUCTAR. NO TO RACISM."

Valencia then returned to the fray, said at the time to be at Diakhaby's request, although he was immediately replaced by Hugo Guillamon. At the time, the scores were level at 1-1 - following goals from Cala and Gameiro - but the game swung in Cadiz's favour late on as a goal two minutes from time handed them a narrow 2-1 win.

The result means little to nothing in the grand scheme of things, and instead there will be focus on how the incident was handled. Speaking to the media, left-back Jose Gaya revealed Valencia had been threatened with a points deduction if they failed to continue - revealing Diakhaby had been floored by the abuse and wanted the team to leave.

"He has told us that he has insulted him in a racist way," Gaya confirmed. "We have gone out to play because they have told us that they could take away the 3 points and some more. He asked us to leave. He is sunk, a very ugly insult. .. We are with him to death".

Unfortunately, this was not an isolated incident on Sunday, as ugly abuse again reared it's head in England. In the aftermath of Tottenham's 2-2 draw with Newcastle, Davinson Sanchez revealed messages that showed he'd been racially abused on Instagram, just a day after West Bromwich Albion striker Callum Robinson was targeted after playing a starring role in the surprise 5-2 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Manchester United trio Anthony Martial, Axel Tuanzebe and Marcus Rashford are among a number of other black players who have been subjected to recent online abuse, with authorities still seemingly having little to no power to prevent such messages from being sent.