Valencia were told by organisers to resume playing Sunday’s La Liga match at Cadiz or they would have to forfeit the points after they had left the pitch when Mouctar Diakhaby complained he had been racially abused, fellow defender Jose Gaya said.
Valencia’s players walked off the field in the 29th minute after Frenchman Diakhaby reacted furiously following an altercation with Cadiz’s Spanish centre back Juan Cala.
The players eventually returned to the pitch at the request of Diakhaby, who asked to be substituted in the 30th minute.
“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,” Gaya told Spanish network Movistar.
“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 said he had heard the comment Cala made to Diakhaby.
He added: “It was a very ugly insult which I won’t repeat. We haven’t been able to speak with Cala because he was the last player to leave the pitch. I’m certain that he said something. It was a very strange game.”
Cala, who had given Cadiz the lead in the 14th minute before Kevin Gameiro soon equalised for the visitors, remained on the pitch after the altercation with Diakhaby but was replaced at halftime by Marcos Mauro, who struck the winner in the 88th.
Mauro said he knew nothing about the incident but added that Cala was “a great team mate and very respectful”.
La Liga did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Gaya’s suggestion that his side had been urged to play on.
Cadiz could not immediately be reached for comment.
A statement from Valencia said the team had decided to resume playing “to fight for the club’s badge but showed its condemnation for racism in all its forms.”
“All our support to Diakhaby,” the club added in a statement on Twitter.
“The player, who was subjected to a racist insult, has asked his team mates to return to the pitch to fight for the team. We’re all with you, Mouctar.”