The George Floyd case is still on and in football, we see players bend the knee before each game, and we have heard different statements from FIFA and UEFA, but is the world ready to put an end to racism? Are the governing bodies in the beautiful game ready to end racism? Is everyone ready to stand up against racism? In Valencia’s 2-1 loss to Cadiz, the system failed Mouctar Diakhaby, just like it has failed many.
Crystal Palace forward, Wilfred Zaha said he’d stop bending the knee, as he believes it does not change anything, and racists still have it in them to do what they will do, and we say just that in the Spanish La Liga, as a player was accused of racial comments just 30 minutes after taking the knee.
Juan Cala scored the opening goal for the home side in the 14th minute after Valencia goalkeeper, Jaume misjudged the ball. Kevin Gameiro equalized 5 minutes later after a defense splitting pass from Goncalo Guedes. Marcos Mauro scored the winner late in the 88th minute, heading home a cross from Ivan Alejo.
The drama happened in the 32nd minute when French midfielder Diakhaby accused Cadiz goalscorer, Cala of racial abuse, and the match was stopped for about a quarter of an hour, but the players took to the field again to continue the match without Diakhaby.
Speaking after the game, Valencia boss, Javi Gracia said: “In the changing rooms we were told if we didn’t return, we would be sanctioned. In that moment, we spoke with Diakha, about how he was, and he told us that he wouldn’t play but he understood perfectly we had to continue playing to avoid a possible sanction, so we returned.”
Left-back, Jose Gaya said to Spanish television: He [Diakhaby] told us he was insulted in a racist way. We went back out to play because they told us they could penalize us with three points and something more. He asked us to go back, he’s gutted, it was a very ugly insult.
In February 2020, Porto striker Moussa Marega refused to play after he was racially abused in the match against Vitoria Guimaraes in Portugal’s Primeira Liga, and he was booked by the official for his reaction, and he walked off the pitch.
In December 2020, Istanbul Basaksehir assistant coach Pierre Webo accused the fourth official in their game against Paris Saint-Germain, Sebastian Coltescu of racially abusing him, and the players of both teams refused to play and the game was postponed.
In the Marega situation, should his teammates be begging him to stay or they should have supported him by walking off the pitch? Should Valencia have returned to the field or stayed to console their teammate? But the coach said they were threatened. Again, which is better, 3 points or the sanity of your player?
Back to the Cadiz v Valencia clash, reports say while the team went back to finish the game, Diakhaby was left alone in the dressing room, and the Frenchman of Guinean descent wept sore.
If the team can be threatened with a sanction and a walkover for standing by their player, who was allegedly abused racially, then it looks like the governing body is not ready to end racism. They prefer the game and the money, to the sanity of coloured players.
The bigger question is, the leagues with more racial issues, how are the countries treating racism? The governing bodies give a slap on the wrist sanctions for racial offenders, and hundreds of thousands of fines for basic offenses. Is the world ready to really put an end to this terrible act?
Racism shouldn’t be a subject of discussion, but in 2021, it is still a major headline, and if there is no solution, it will continue to creep in, and the beautiful game of football may lose its followers, who disdain the act.