FIFA have ordered Cardiff to pay Nantes just £5.3m for late striker Emiliano Sala.
Cardiff agreed a £15m fee for the Argentine striker in January.
1 Cardiff City have been ordered to pay Nantes just £5.3million for Emiliano SalaCredit: AFP
But just two days later. On his way back from a return visit to France, the plane carrying Sala ditched into the Channel with both the player and the pilot killed.
Nantes had demanded the full payment of the agreed fee.
The Bluebirds, though, insisted he was not officially a Cardiff player at the time of the accident.
When mediation failed to find a solution, the matter was delegated to Fifa’s players status committee.
And in a ruling that will cause outrage in France, Fifa have awarded Nantes just £5.3m, representing the first instalment that would have been due to the Ligue 1 side following the transfer agreement.
Explaining the decision, Fifa stated the committee “never lost sight of the specific and unique circumstances of this tragic situation during its deliberations”.
Both clubs now have 10 days to request the written reasons and lodge an appeal to the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport.
It seems likely that Cardiff would accept the verdict but Nantes, who have always insisted the required paperwork on the deal had been completed, seem set to go to CAS.
Cardiff had argued the transfer agreement was not valid because the Premier League had rejected some of the clauses Nantes had demanded were part of the original deal.
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As Sala had not signed the revised contract, he was, the club maintained, therefore not registered as their player.
The striker’s body was recovered after the plane was eventually located on February 3, 13 days after it had disappeared off air traffic control radar screens.
Toxicology tests suggested Sala and pilot David Ibbotson – whose body has never been found – had probably been rendered unconscious by carbon monoxide poisoning before the Piper Malibu craft ditched in the sea.