Valencia have reiterated their support for their player Mouctar Diakhaby after Cadiz's Juan Cala angrily denied racially abusing the defender.
Play was stopped during the first half of Cadiz's 2-1 LaLiga win over Valencia on Sunday following an altercation between Cala and Diakhaby, after which the latter player and his team-mates left the field.
OFFICIAL STATEMENT |— Valencia CF 🦇🍊🌊 (@valenciacf_en) April 6, 2021
JUAN CALA, WE DON'T BELIEVE YOU #YoCreoAMouctarDiakhaby
Valencia returned to resume the game 20 minutes later without Diakhaby, and Cala was substituted at half-time.
Los Che captain Jose Luis Gaya said Diakhaby had been subjected to "a very ugly insult", with the club's president Anil Murthy condemning an "extremely serious racial insult".
In a video posted to his Twitter page on Tuesday, Diakhaby said Cala called him "negro de mierda" which translates as "black s***".
However, at a news conference, during which he repeatedly claimed he was at the centre of a public "lynching", Cala stated he merely told Diakhaby to "leave me in peace".
The 31-year-old former Sevilla, Getafe and Las Palmas centre-back also suggested Diakhaby might have "misheard or has invented something" and decried the episode as "a circus" – all of which prompted an official response from Valencia.
"Valencia CF are deeply saddened by statements made by Cadiz CF player Juan Cala this Tuesday, in which 48 hours later, he denied racially insulting Mouctar Diakhaby during the LaLiga match played last Sunday at the Ramon de Carranza," a club statement read.
The statement was tweeted with a caption of "JUAN CALA, WE DON'T BELIEVE YOU".
Valencia added in their response: "Cala has missed a great opportunity to accept his mistake and apologise to the player affected. Instead of doing this, he attacked both Diakhaby and other members of Valencia CF.
"Valencia CF wish to reiterate that we believe our player and back him completely. After the threats made by Cala in his press conference this Tuesday, April 6, the club, president Anil Murthy and Mouctar Diakhaby himself remain firm in the conviction to fight to the end, wherever necessary, on the matter for the good of football and society.
"Valencia CF will not stop fighting for an improvement in protocol and in the battle against racism in football."
In his video statement on Tuesday, Diakhaby said he felt "very calm" and thanked team-mates and Valencia's backroom staff for their "solidarity and support".
"In Cadiz on Sunday a player insulted me, the words are 'negro de mierda'," he said. “The player said that to me, and that is intolerable. I cannot accept that.
"You have seen all my reactions, that cannot happen in normal life, and above all in football, which is a sport of respect.
"Me and my team-mates decided to go to the dressing room, a good decision. Then a Cadiz player asked a Valencia player that if Cala said sorry would we return to the pitch.
"We said no, things are not like that. When something happens, you cannot just apologise and move on. I feel good today, but it hurt me, a lot. I expect LaLiga will issue punishments, and have proof, so that it can all be clarified."
On Monday, LaLiga president Javier Tebas said his organisation would seek to "clarify" the incident because "we do not want any racism in our football".
However, a day later, Cala's latest intervention appears to have inflamed matters.
"I am in a state of shock, I am being accused of something I know nothing of," Cala said.
"There was a clash between us, and I told him 'leave me in peace'. I don't know what Diakhaby thought he heard, if he misheard or has invented something. I just told him to leave me in peace.
"Things are said on the pitch, I am a centre-half and have been involved in thousands of clashes in games. It is normal, part of football. But I would never, never cross the red line I am being accused of.
"This has all become a circus. I will take legal action against all the people who have tried to play with my honour. My lawyers are compiling the information."
Cala explained he would like to meet Diakhaby and discuss the matter in person.
"I would have no problem sitting down with Diakhaby and I could explain to him that I did not say that," he said.
"I could tell him that there is no racism in Spanish football, between players. Each team has five or six players of colour. I am in favour of supporting the fight against racism, but for me there is no racism between players in Spanish football."
Cala added: "All types of people - Chinese people, African people - have sent me messages of support.
"Nobody in my 15 years of football can accuse me of what I am being accused of now. I have had a hard time; my family, too, have received many threats over social media. But I am relaxed as I am innocent of what I am accused of."