Cardiff FC will have to pay Nantes €6 million for the transfer of a footballer who died in a plane crash over the Channel Islands on his way to his new club, FIFA has ruled.
Emiliano Sala’s plane ditched off the coast of Alderney on 21 January, as he travelled to the Welsh club following a record £15m signing.
His body was later recovered from the plane wreck, but that of his pilot – David Ibbotson – was never found.
Despite the Argentinian striker never making it to his new football team, Nantes nonetheless demanded payment for the transfer – something Cardiff refused.
FIFA rule Cardiff must pay Nantes 6million euros for transfer of the late Emiliano Sala pic.twitter.com/9Y0dpbijHw— Martyn Ziegler (@martynziegler) September 30, 2019
According to the Bluebirds, the contract that Sala had signed was not binding, leading Nantes to put in a complaint to FIFA.
Yesterday, the governing body concluded that Cardiff must pay Nantes €6m – the first instalment of the deal signed on 19 January.
"The FIFA Players' Status Committee, which never lost sight of the specific and unique circumstances of this tragic situation during its deliberations on the dispute at stake, refrained from imposing procedural costs on the parties,” a statement from FIFA read.
In response, Cardiff said it “acknowledged” the decision, adding: "We will be seeking further clarification from FIFA on the exact meaning of their statement in order to make an informed decision on our next steps."
Pictured: Sala in the kit of his former team, Nantes FC.
Both clubs will have the opportunity to appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne if they wish.
Meanwhile, investigations remain ongoing into the exact reason behind the plane crash that led to Mr Sala’s death.
An interim report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch has so far identified a carbon monoxide leak as a potential factor after a post-mortem examination revealed the footballer had been exposed to a “potentially fatal” level of the gas prior to his death.
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