Valencia's Diakhaby stays away from anti-racism banner

·2-min read

Valencia defender Mouctar Diakhaby didn't pose by an anti-racism banner with his teammates before Valencia's 1-0 loss at Mallorca in the Spanish league.

The banner with the words "racists out of football" is being displayed in every league match after Real Madrid forward Vinícius Júnior was racially abused by fans in a match against Valencia on Sunday.

While players from both teams and the refereeing crew stood by the banner before Thursday's kickoff, Diakhaby wandered behind them stretching and waiting for the ceremony to end.

Diakhaby, who is Black, accused an opponent of racism in 2021 but nothing was done because officials said at the time there was not enough evidence showing he was abused. He loudly complained against soccer officials at the time for failing to corroborate his accusation.

On the day Vinícius was abused in Valencia, Diakhaby posted a message of support for the Brazil forward and said he hoped his club would take all the necessary measures to strongly punish those involved.

Three fans were arrested for the abuse against Vinícius and Valencia said they had been banned for life from Mestalla Stadium.

The banners are part of a new anti-racism campaign launched jointly by the Spanish league, the Spanish federation and the Spanish government.

The loss kept Valencia in danger of relegation ahead of the final two rounds. They are in 13th place but only two points outside the relegation zone.

They next host second-to-last place Espanyol on Sunday, when part of  Mestalla Stadium will be closed because of the abuse against Vinícius last weekend. The team's initial appeal against the sanction was denied on Thursday.

Valencia coach Rubén Baraja said he didn't think his players "were affected" by the occurrences in the last few days relating to the abuse against Vinícius.

The club was also fined 45,000 euros ($A74,000). Valencia beat Madrid 1-0 on Sunday.

Vedat Muriqi scored a 64th-minute winner on Thursday for the hosts, who moved into 11th place.

Also Thursday, Osasuna reached seventh place - and the final European place - with a 2-0 win at home against Athletic Bilbao.

Athletic, who have only one win from their last six league games, dropped to eighth.