Cardiff ordered to pay £5.1m instalment to Nantes for Emiliano Sala transfer

Cardiff have been ordered to pay the first instalment of Emiliano Sala’s transfer fee after the court of arbitration for sport ruled the deal was complete before his death. The Argentinian joined the Championship club from Nantes in January 2019, and the French side’s claim for the first €6m (£5.1m) under the terms of the deal has been upheld by the Cas.

Sala died when the light aircraft he was travelling in from France crashed into the Channel on 21 January 2019, two days after Cardiff had announced his signing.

A Cas statement said it had dismissed Cardiff’s appeal “in relation to the decision issued by the bureau of the Fifa players’ status committee on September 25 2019 (the challenged decision). The challenged decision, in which Cardiff City FC was ordered to pay €6m to FC Nantes in connection with the transfer of the player Emiliano Sala between the clubs, is confirmed.”

Cardiff said they were “disappointed” by the decision. “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,” the club said.

“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. 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.”

An inquest into Sala’s death found he had died of head and chest injuries but would have been unconscious at the time of the crash because of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The jury noted that the pilot, David Ibbotson, who also died, did not have the correct licence for either a commercial flight or one at night, and found that the aircraft was not operated or maintained in accordance with commercial use.