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Valencia 'forced to play' game after alleged racial insult

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FILE PHOTO: Valencia's French defender Mouctar Diakhaby (L) vies with Levante's Spanish forward Borja Mayoral during A Spanish League football match, June 12, 2020.
FILE PHOTO: Valencia's French defender Mouctar Diakhaby (L) vies with Levante's Spanish forward Borja Mayoral during A Spanish League football match, June 12, 2020.   -   Copyright  JOSE JORDAN/AFP
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Valencia stopped playing its Spanish league game at Cádiz on Sunday and walked off the field after one of its players said he was racially insulted by an opponent.

The club said it resumed the game after feeling threatened by the referee with the loss of points.

Valencia left the field after Mouctar Diakhaby said he was insulted by Cádiz defender Juan Cala, who denied any wrongdoing.

The team returned more than 20 minutes later.

“The referee told the players about the potential consequences of not returning to the field,” the club said in a statement. “The players were forced to play after the threat of punishment.”

The club had said earlier that the decision to return was made after a request to do so by Diakhaby, who is Black.

“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,” it said in its Twitter account in English.

“The player, who had received a racial insult, requested that his teammates return to the pitch.”

Valencia said it offered its “complete backing" to Diakhaby.

“WE SUPPORT YOU MOUCTAR,” it wrote.

Valencia captain José Luis Gayà said Diakhaby was "devastated" and wasn't in condition to keep playing.

“It was a very ugly insult,” Gayà said. “I won't say what it was."

The captain said they hadn't talked with Cala, but that by the way Diakhaby was reacting, he was “sure” that something was said to him.

Cádiz coach Álvaro Cervera said Cala told him he didn't insult anybody and that he believed his player.

“He told me that he never insulted the other player,” Cervera said. “We need to condemn these actions when they occur, but I believe what my player told me.”

Cádiz defender Marcos Mauro avoided talking about the incident but said Cala is a “good teammate” and is always very “respectful” of others.

The Spanish league has not so far commented on the incident.

Sanctions could be imposed if Valencia makes an official complaint to the Spanish soccer federation after the referee's game report is released.

The club said it hoped the incident would be fully investigated.