LaLiga finds no evidence Juan Cala racially abused Valencia CF player Mouctar Diakhaby
12 April 2021
Controversy arose at a recent La Liga football game between Spanish clubs Cádiz CF and Valencia CF. One of the Cádiz players, Juan Cala, was accused by Valencia’s Mouctar Diakhaby of having used racist language. In protest, the Valencia players stepped off the pitch but returned to resume the match shortly after. Juan Cala vehemently denied having used racist language.
The Spanish Football Association started an inquiry into the allegations but found no evidence that a racist act had been committed. Whilst Juan Cala felt vindicated, Valencia issued a statement noting that even if no proof had been found, that does not mean that the matter had not occurred.
In February, a month before this incident, Cádiz CF joined our campaign “Show Racism the Red Card”. Its Foundation, through its project “Carranza Stadium of Tolerance”, implements different campaigns for the elimination of racism, xenophobia, homophobia and transphobia.
One of the questions this case raises is whether Football Associations should consider deploying technological solutions to be able to hear what players are saying during the game? This could then potentially be used to investigate racist claims. In some other sports, like American football or hockey, the use of microphones to listen in to conversations on the pitch has already been introduced, starting for referees. Players could wear microphones which could even become part of “wearables”, or embedded into their outfits. However, whilst it would perhaps make games more interesting, and could help prevent, or catch, the occasional use of racist terms, there are also potential arguments against, such as the protection of player’s privacy or keeping tactical instructions concealed from opponents. What is clear is that further discussion will be needed, particularly as technology makes such innovations increasingly feasible.