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SPORTS | 02-10-2019 13:35

Sala saga set to drag on as Cardiff appeal to CAS over FIFA ruling

Cardiff said on Wednesday they would appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against FIFA's decision to make them pay Nantes the first instalment of the transfer fee for the late Argentine striker.

Cardiff City will appeal to sport's highest court against FIFA's ruling that the club should pay six million euros ($6.5 million) to Nantes as a first installment of the transfer fee for the late Argentine striker Emiliano Sala.

Sala, a native of Progreso in Santa Fe Provibnce, died in an airplane crash near the Channel Island of Guernsey on January 21 before playing a game for the Welsh football club. He was traveling to Cardiff from Nantes to complete the 15 million-pound (about US$20 million) transfer that the clubs had agreed to two days earlier. The amount corresponds to the first instalment of the 17 million-euro fee Cardiff had agreed to pay Nantes.

Cardiff said it is "extremely disappointed" at the FIFA ruling announced on Monday — which also suggested Cardiff could also be liable for subsequent payments to Nantes — and would be appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

"It would appear the committee has reached its conclusion on a narrow aspect of the overall dispute, without considering the full documentation presented by Cardiff to FIFA," Cardiff said in a statement released Wednesday. "Nevertheless there remains clear evidence that the transfer agreement was never completed in accordance with multiple contractual requirements which were requested by Nantes, thereby rendering [it] null and void."

"We shall be appealing to CAS [Court of Arbitration for Sport] in order to seek a decision which considers all of the relevant contractual information and provides clarity on the full legal situation between our two clubs."

Cardiff, which was in the English Premier League at the time of Sala's death but now plays in the second-tier Championship, said the "ongoing civil and criminal considerations both in the UK and abroad" also will likely have an impact on the validity of the transfer.

Sala was travelling in a single-engine aircraft with a pilot, David Ibbotson, when it lost contact with Air Traffic Control. The body of the 28-year-old Sala was recovered from the wreckage two weeks later. Ibbotson's body has not been found. 

A report by Britain's Air Accidents Investigation Branch in August said that Sala and the pilot were likely exposed to "potentially fatal" levels of carbon monoxide on the plane.

n a statement on Monday, FIFA said it had "never lost sight of the specific and unique circumstances of this tragic situation during its deliberations on the dispute at stake."

Nantes said they were pleased with FIFA's decision.

"Cardiff must honour their commitments and the rule of the laws of sport," the club's lawyers wrote in a text message sent to AFP.

Nantes had previously appealed in February over Cardiff's failure to pay the 17 million euros they said was owed because Sala had already signed for the Welsh side.

– TIMES/AP/AFP

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