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Valencia hit back after Juan Cala denies racially abusing Mouctar Diakhaby

Brighton and Hove Albion v Valencia – Pre-Season Friendly – AMEX Stadium
(Image credit: Mark Kerton)

Cadiz defender Juan Cala has denied allegations he racially abused Valencia’s Mouctar Diakhaby during their LaLiga match on Sunday – with Los Che responding by saying “we don’t believe you”.

The Valencia team walked off the field during the 2-1 defeat at the Estadio Ramon de Carranza after defender Diakhaby claimed to have been racially insulted by Cala.

Valencia returned to complete the match, but without Diakhaby, who was substituted. The club stressed the players had not been asked to continue and only did so after being informed by the referee of potential sanctions.

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Following the match, Valencia president Anil Murthy issued a strong statement calling on Spain’s footballing authorities to do more to tackle racism.

On Tuesday, Diakhaby posted a video on social media in which he detailed the alleged abuse, stating Cala had called him a “black s***”, which was “intolerable” and “cannot happen in normal life and especially in football, which is a sport of respect”.

The Frenchman also called for the Spanish league to take action.

Later, Cala addressed the allegations at a press conference following Cadiz’s training session and denied the claims made against him.

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“I never said black s***. I didn’t say it to him and that’s clear,” Cala told reporters, as quoted on Spanish media outlet AS.

“Everything he says is false. If there is any Cadiz player who has said that I was going to apologise, I’ll quit football. This is a media lynching.”

Cala continued in the virtual press conference: “Either he made it up or he understood something else when I said ‘leave me alone’.

“The best thing would have been to get me and (Diakhaby) together in a room to explain what happened. Instead, it’s been a circus. I was judged before the game was over.

“Nobody from Valencia told me anything. I have been a professional for 12 years. I have lived together with Chinese, Africans, South Americans…I’ve shared a dressing room with Benjamin, Kanoute…”

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Cala, who says he has received threats on social media, maintains he will fight to defend his reputation.

“I will take legal action against all the people who have tried to play on my honour. My lawyer is gathering information,” he said.

“I have the full support of the club and it will take measures against the entire institution or person that damages the image of Cadiz.”

Cala stressed any action could only be taken if there was conclusive evidence.

“We are creating a very dangerous precedent,” he said. “Without evidence, what is happening is we are creating a precedent.

“What I am looking for is to clarify the facts so that they show one thing or another. That is what LaLiga has done and that is what Cadiz is doing.”

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In response to Cala’s press conference, Valencia issued another statement, which was captioned on the club’s official Twitter page as: “Juan Cala, we don’t believe you”.

The club said: “Valencia CF are deeply saddened by statements made by Cadiz CF player Juan Cala this Tuesday, in which 48 hours later, he denied racially insulting Mouctar Diakhaby during the LaLiga match played last Sunday at the Ramón de Carranza.

“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.

“Valencia CF wish to reiterate that we believe our player and back him completely.

“After the threats made by Cala in his press conference this Tuesday, April 6th, the club, president Anil Murthy and Mouctar Diakhaby himself remain firm in the conviction to fight to the end, wherever necessary, on the matter for the good of football and society.

“Valencia CF will not stop fighting for an improvement in protocol and in the battle against racism in football.”

The incident occurred during the first half, with play halted after Diakhaby reacted furiously following a clash with Cala and remonstrated with the referee.

On Monday, Valencia issued a photograph of their squad standing behind Diakhaby in a show of solidarity.

Reflecting on the events, Diakhaby said in his video on social media: “After this (abuse), me and my team-mates we decided to go to the changing room, which was a good decision and then one of their players asked one of our players that if Cala apologised, would we return to the pitch.

“And we told them no. Things are not like that. You cannot do something like that and then that happen.

“Today I feel much better, but it has hurt me a lot. It’s life and things like that happen. I hope the league does something finds a solution and finds evidence so everything is cleared up.

“I want to thank Valencia, my team-mates and coaches for their solidarity and support they’ve given me.”

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