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Cardiff to appeal FIFA order over Emiliano Sala

Cardiff City will appeal to the court of arbitration for sport against Fifa’s ruling that they must pay Nantes the transfer fee for Emiliano Sala, the 28-year-old Argentinian player killed in a plane crash two days after Cardiff announced his signing in January.

World football governing body, FIFA had ordered Cardiff City to pay Nantes €6 million for the transfer of Emiliano Sala who died in a plane crash on his way to the Welsh club.

“The FIFA Players’ Status Committee established that Cardiff City FC must pay FC Nantes the sum of 6,000,000 euros, corresponding to the first instalment due for the player and must be paid in accordance with the transfer agreement,” FIFA said in a statement.

The clubs were involved in a dispute over when the first instalment of the fee should be paid and FIFA began investigating Sala’s transfer following a claim from the French club in February.

Cardiff had refused to pay the transfer fee after Sala died, arguing that as there were details in the club’s employment contract with him which were still to be concluded, the transfer had not been finalised.

Both clubs were notified of the decision on Monday and FIFA said they could appeal against it to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Legally obliged to pay the agreed fee

The Fifa committee, chaired by the South African lawyer and senior football administrator Raymond Hack, determined that the transfer from Nantes had been agreed by Cardiff and all necessary elements of the paperwork concluded, just hours before the plane crashed on 21 January, so Cardiff are legally obliged to pay the agreed fee.

In a statement, Cardiff said they were “extremely disappointed” with the FIFA committee’s decision and would appeal to CAS.

“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,” Cardiff said.

Cardiff publicly unveiled Sala as their record signing on 19 January, and at 3:32pm that day, according to France’s Ligue de Football Professionel, Nantes uploaded the transfer agreement onto Fifa’s TMS international transfer registration system.

Forty minutes later, the transfer of Sala to Nantes was “matched” on TMS, which meant that the necessary international player certificate (ITC) could be requested by the Football Association of Wales (FAW).

On 21 January the FAW did request the ITC from the French FA via the TMS system; the French FA is said to have checked with its league that this was in order, then having been told that it was, sent the certificate to the Welsh FA, at 5:14pm.

The FAW is said to have acknowledged receipt of the certificate at 6:30pm (5:30pm UK time), which is the final step to conclude an international football transfer according to Fifa’s regulations.

Sala was travelling to Cardiff from the French club after signing for £15 million (around €16,914,000) when his plane crashed in the English Channel.

The body of the 28-year-old Argentine striker was recovered nearly three weeks later after an underwater search found the wreckage. Pilot David Ibbotson has not been found.

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