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April 7, 2021

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Cadiz’s Cala denies racial abuse

Cadiz defender Juan Cala denied racially abusing Valencia’s Mouctar Diakhaby during Sunday’s 2-1 win in La Liga, saying he had been caught up in “a media circus” and “a public lynching.”

In a first in Spanish football, Valencia’s players left the pitch after Diakhaby reacted furiously following an altercation with Cala in the first half. Diakhaby told the referee he had been racially abused.

Valencia eventually returned to the pitch and resumed the game, saying the referee had warned its players that they could face a sanction otherwise. Diakhaby asked to be substituted but gave his blessing to the team to return.

The French defender spoke for the first time about the incident in a video posted on his official Twitter account yesterday, saying he had been “very hurt” and hoped La Liga would sanction Cala.

But Cala, speaking at a news conference, repeated that he had not racially abused Diakhaby and had only said “leave me in peace” following a dispute for the ball.

“What has happened is a media circus, a public lynching,” Cala told a virtual news conference.

“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.”

Cala, 31, also lamented being assumed guilty of the insult without any audio proof.

“There are 20 or 25 cameras around, who knows how many microphones, and no-one heard (the insult). So at the very least let me have some doubt about what happened,” he said.

Diakhaby said a Cadiz player had suggested the Valencia players could resume play if Cala apologized to him.

“Me and my teammates said ‘No, it doesn’t work like that, you can’t just say something like that, apologize and move on’.”

“I hope the league imposes sanctions.”

Cala said he would “quit football tomorrow” if a teammate confirmed he had offered to apologize.

“Cala has missed a great opportunity to accept his mistake and apologize,” Valencia said in a statement on its website.

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

Elsewhere, Slavia Prague defender Ondrej Kudela, who is being investigated by UEFA and Police Scotland over alleged racial abuse, has been provisionally suspended for one game ahead of a hearing, Europe’s soccer governing body said yesterday.

Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara complained of being racially abused by Kudela in their Europa League last-16 match, when the Scottish club was knocked out in the second leg, which included a melee on the pitch and clashes in the tunnel afterwards.

Kudela denied the allegation and his club stood by him, lodging an official complaint with the Scottish police, via the Czech Embassy in London, alleging a “physical assault” on the 34-year-old defender.

UEFA said its Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body was looking into Kudela for a potential violation of UEFA regulations over racism and other discriminatory conduct, and for misconduct such as insulting players.

“The CEDB today decided to provisionally suspend Mr Ondrej Kudela for the next (1) UEFA club competition match,” it said in a statement.

UEFA also added that proceedings have also been opened against Kamara to assess if he is guilty of assault, which could see him receive a five-match suspension.

Earlier yesterday, Slavia Prague’s assistant coach Zdenek Houstecky said that Kudela would not be travelling to London to play Arsenal in tomorrow’s Europa League quarterfinal first leg due to illness and a nose injury.


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