Valencia president Anil Murthy has called for change in Spanish football after Mouctar Diakhaby was the victim of alleged racial abuse by Cadiz’s Juan Cala in their Ligue 1 meeting on Sunday.
The latter vehemently denied the claims while threatening legal action against both Murthy and Diakhaby, who engaged in a heated discussion with Cala before the entire Valencia team walked in solidarity with their teammate.
Valencia returned to complete the match after being warned they would face sanctions if they didn’t return but without their French defender, who was substituted.
On Tuesday, Diakhaby posted a video on social media in which he detailed the alleged abuse, stating Cala had called him a ‘black s***’.
And on talkSPORT on Wednesday, Murthy joined Jim White, Simon Jordan and Trevor Sinclair to air his strong views on the subject.
“Yesterday [Cala] announced he would apparently be taking me to court and my player Diakhaby as well for alleging lying over what we believe firmly take place,” he explained.
“I think that’s where the main problem lies. If any action is to be taken, until totally proven, is the wrong starting point in any fight against racism.
“As you said earlier, everything was quite clear and quite obvious from television footage of what took place.
“It is not a casual reaction of any professional footballer to walk off the pitch and tell his teammates this is what happened and let’s get off the pitch.
“If you go into the dressing room and the burden of blame is put on Valencia after being called a small black s*** and after that being given a yellow card and knowing the sanctions that take place if you don’t get back on the field then what can you say?
“You have 20/30 minutes to prove something ultimately. I don’t control the cameras and audio in the stadium, but I think that’s the wrong starting point and actually it’s a backwards step in the fight against racism.”
Murthy believes the issue should have been dealt with there and then, and the match should have not been allowed to recommence without a conclusion being drawn.
He added: “Let’s apply some common sense in this issue. As you said earlier it’s obvious to the whole world that something happened, then what’s the hurry to get back on the pitch?
“If you take this issue seriously then let’s investigate. I agree fully with the concept of investigating the issue, then let’s talk about, let’s come to conclusions and let’s start the game again.
“That may take three days, but not 30 minutes. The common sense approach to fighting racism is to have proper protocols and rules in place to handle an issue that takes place because this is going to happen again.”
Murthy revealed that a five-year ban could be slapped on Cala’s shoulders if he is found guilty of the alleged offence – but he says there is a far more rooted-problems which needs to be addressed.
“You must have those consequences which must be extremely severe. You have LaLiga and the Spanish federation – they are two separate organisations.
“He could be banned for five years if he’s found guilty. I think that will destroy any professional footballer for him to banned for five years – their career would be over.
“My main focus right now is not to sanction this one player of colour, it’s about how to use this opportunity to open up our eyes to the problems that exist in Spanish football and re-examine the systems.
‘I’m not on a witch hunt of one colour. It’s an example of an incident that takes place in Spanish football.
“Now it’s for the institutions and club to say ‘what are going to do’? Diakhaby was destroyed out there [during the game]. He’s thinking to himself ‘I’m the victim but I get a yellow card and the burden of proof is on me?
“‘If I tell my teammates don’t go out then I’m going to get sanctioned.’ I would feel horrible. The system is obviously not working.”
He concluded: “I will not use the word allegedly. I’ll be very clear: I firmly believe that he is the victim of this whole thing.
“He was destroyed for a couple of days. I met him two days ago where we released a video on our official website.
“I don’t think he’ll get over it too soon, especially if our Spanish clubs don’t react. It’s surprising that none of them have come to support us.
“If the player comes out to say everything is false I’m sure he has the support of Cadiz.
“It’s the wrong approach to take and it’s not helpful at all. I am in no hurry to speak to the president of Cadiz.”