European soccer was marred by another incident of alleged racism on Sunday. This one occurred in the 29th minute of Valencia’s match away to Cadiz in La Liga. Valencia defender Mouctar Diakhaby was the player subject to alleged racist abuse, directed at him by Cadiz’s Juan Cala. After the exchange, the match was paused as Diakhaby spoke with the referee and then Valencia captain Jose Luis Gaya led the team off the pitch.
Diakhaby himself was shown a yellow card as the incident unfolded. Twenty minutes later, the teams re-took the pitch to continue the match with Diakhaby replaced. Cala was later subbed off at halftime.
After the match Valencia player Jose Gaya 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.”
Valencia tweeted in support of their player as the team returned to the pitch.
After the match Valencia released a further statement which read in part, “The Club did 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, decided to return to the pitch.”
Sunday’s incident is the latest in a string of on field incidents that have plagued the soccer world. Most recently it was an incident where Rangers’ Glenn Kamara accused Slavia Prague’s Ondrej Kudela of whispering racist abuse in his ear during the side’s round of 16 Europa League tie. Earlier this season it was PSG and Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir walking off in solidarity after accusations that one of the referees in their match made racist comments during a Champions League group stage match.
Ultimately Sunday’s La Liga matched finished with Cadiz winning over Valencia, 2-1.