Emiliano Sala: Cardiff City FC must pay $6M transfer fee in plane crash victim case, court rules

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Sala, who scored 42 goals for Nantes following his move from Bordeaux in 2015, had signed for Cardiff, then in the English Premier League, for a reported £15 million ($19.3 million) in January 2019.

The 28-year-old was on his way to his new club having said goodbye to his teammates in France when the plane he was traveling in crashed into the English Channel, leaving the soccer player and pilot David Ibbotson dead.

Sala’s body was recovered from the wreckage on February 6, 2019, after a private search for the missing footballer and the pilot was commissioned by his family.

“After taking into due consideration all the evidence produced and all the arguments put forward by both clubs, the CAS Panel found the Player’s transfer from FC Nantes to Cardiff City FC to have been completed,” CAS said in a press release.

“Because the conditions set out in the Transfer Agreement were fulfilled prior to the Player’s death, FC Nantes’ claim for the first instalment of the transfer fee in the amount of EUR 6 million ($6 million) was upheld.”

FC Nantes supporters gather in front of a portrait of late Argentinian forward Emiliano Sala at the La Beaujoire stadium on February 10, 2019.

Cardiff City said in a statement it was “disappointed” and that it intends to appeal Friday’s decision.

“The award fails to decide the crucial question of FC Nantes’ (and its agents) liability for the crash, which will therefore have to be decided in another forum.

“Once the club’s lawyers have digested the reasons for the decision we expect to appeal and will not be making any payments to FC Nantes in the meanwhile.

“If those appeals are unsuccessful and the club is liable to pay the transfer fee the club will take legal action against those responsible for the crash for damages to recover its losses. This will include FC Nantes, and its agents.

“All our thoughts must continue to be with Emiliano’s family, who are now supported financially by the Trust the club put in place for them.”

Meanwhile, Nantes said it welcomed the decision by the court.

“FC Nantes is delighted that this procedure — initiated by Cardiff City then delayed on numerous occasions by Cardiff City — which has been difficult for all those close to Emiliano, is finally over.

“The Club hopes that this will mark the end of the public misinformation campaign, which the FCN has never reacted to, out of respect for the player’s family.”

David Henderson, who organized the flight that crashed, was last year sentenced to 18 months in prison for endangering the safety of the aircraft.

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