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Emiliano Sala was 'abandoned' by Cardiff, says ex-agent involved in deal

Willie McKay, whose son Mark McKay had a temporary mandate from Sala's previous club Nantes to negotiate the player's transfer to the English Premier League side, said Cardiff had "let themselves down."

Thursday 28 February, 2019
Scarves showing Emiliano Sala's image are sold outside Cardiff City's stadium.
Scarves showing Emiliano Sala's image are sold outside Cardiff City's stadium. Foto:Mark Kerton/PA via AP

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Emiliano Sala, the footballer killed in a plane crash last month, had been "abandoned" by his new club Cardiff City, a former agent who helped his son act in the player's transfer said on Thursday.

Willie McKay, whose son Mark McKay had a temporary mandate from Sala's previous club Nantes to negotiate the player's transfer to the English Premier League side, said Cardiff had "let themselves down."

"He was abandoned in a hotel more or less to do his travel arrangements himself," Willie McKay told the BBC in an interview alongside his son.

"Nobody in Cardiff seemed to be doing anything. I think Cardiff let themselves down badly," he added. "The way they've acted so far, they've been a disgrace."

Flown by pilot David Ibbotson, the small plane carrying the 28-year-old Argentine striker came down in the Channel en route to Cardiff on January 21, two days after he completed his transfer from French side Nantes.

Cardiff had previously said that they had offered their new forward a commercial flight, but Sala instead chose to fly privately.

Willie McKay told the BBC he arranged the ill-fated flight through an experienced pilot who had flown him and many of his players "all over Europe on countless occasions." 

The former agent said the pilot, David Henderson, did not own the plane and he did not know who Henderson was going to ask to fly it.

Britain's Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said on Monday the private plane did not have a commercial licence.

However, it said the journey would have been allowed as a "private" flight in which costs are shared between pilot and passenger.

The McKays said Thursday that they have been made "scapegoats" but believe investigations will show the crash was a result of "pilot error."

- TIMES/AFP

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