30.04.2021 21:41 h

Spanish football chiefs to dismiss Diakhaby racism claim for lack of evidence

Mouctar Diakhaby
Mouctar Diakhaby

The investigating judge of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) is set to dismiss allegations of racism which prompted Valencia defender Mouctar Diakhaby to walk off the pitch in a La Liga game with Cadiz due to lack of evidence.

"In an eight-page ruling, Juan Antonio Landaberea Unzueta concludes that the racist insult Cala allegedly directed at Valencia defender Mouctar Diakhaby could not be proven," said Cadiz in a statement.

"The presumption of innocence must apply if, after an unbiased appraisal of the evidence, it cannot be established with absolute certainty that the offence was committed. This certainty is absent in this case."

A furious Diakhaby walked off the field after being involved in a heated exchange with Cala and claimed the Spanish player had used a racist slur towards him in the first half of Valencia's game in Cadiz three weeks ago.

Valencia's players left the pitch in solidarity, becoming the first top-flight Spanish team to make such a protest.

The players later resumed the match without Diakhaby, with the club claiming they were told they would be punished if they refused to return.

Valencia said Friday "they regret this proposal and hope that the Competition Committee (the disciplinary body of the Spanish federation) will succeed in clarifying the matter".

Investigators employed lip-reading experts to try and clarify what was said between the two players.

Diakhaby, a 24-year-old former Lyon player who has been at Valencia since 2018, insisted that he had been racially insulted, adding: "That is intolerable, I cannot allow that and you have all seen my reaction."

Cala, a 31-year-old defender, said he had been a victim of a "circus" and a "witch-hunt" and he was "astonished and embarrassed" when Valencia left the pitch.

Spanish radio station Cope said microphones picked up Cala telling Diakhaby "Damn it, leave me alone", then apologising by saying: "Sorry, don't get angry."