Spanish Soccer team Valencia CF walked off the field in the first half of a La Liga match Sunday after defender Mouctar Diakhaby allegedly dealt with racist abuse from home team Cadiz. The visitors eventually returned, without Diakhaby, to finish out the game.
In the 29th minute, with the teams tied 1-1, Diakhaby and Cadiz’s Juan Cala exchanged words. The situation became heated and Diakhaby had to be held back by players from both teams. After the game, Valencia captain José Luis Gayà told Spanish network Movistar that “Diakhaby told us he heard a racist insult.”
Diakhaby received a yellow card for unsportsmanlike conduct during the stoppage in play. After pleading his case to the referee, he walked off the field. His teammates followed, led by Gaya. Cadiz then walked off as well.
About 20 minutes later, Valencia released a statement saying it would return to the game:
We offer our complete backing to @Diakhaby_5
The player, who had received a racial insult, requested that his teammates return to the pitch.
WE SUPPORT YOU MOUCTAR
𝗡𝗢 𝗧𝗢 𝗥𝗔𝗖𝗜𝗦𝗠 ✊🏽✊🏿 pic.twitter.com/iPtPSpdNYv
— Valencia CF 🦇🍊🌊 (@valenciacf_en) April 4, 2021
“The team has met and decided to return to fight for the badge, but firm in condemning racism around in all its forms,” the tweet read in Spanish. A follow-up tweet reiterated support for Diakhaby’s actions.