Emiliano Sala, an Argentine football player, died in a plane accident while traveling to his new club. Cardiff appealed Cardiff’s obligation to pay the first installment of Sala’s transfer fee. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) dismissed Cardiff’s appeal on Friday. The former English Premier League team, which had been forced to pay the French club Nantes $6 million, appealed, but CAS dismissed it. Only the first installment of the overall transfer cost of 17 million euros was at issue in the proceedings.
On January 21, 2019, two days after he signed with the Bluebirds, the 28-year-old striker crashed his small plane, piloted by David Ibbotson, in the Channel while his route to Cardiff.
According to CAS, Lausanne-based Sala’s transfer was entirely finished before he passed away.
Nantes applauded the decision, but Cardiff said they planned to appeal it and would not be making any payments in the interim.
Cardiff was required to pay the first portion of the transfer price in September 2019 by the FIFA Players’ Status Committee Bureau.
Cardiff filed an appeal with CAS on the judgment in November 2019. Despite the parties’ requests, the hearing could not be convened in person before the end of 2021. The hearings were held this year on March 3 and 4.
The CAS panel concluded the player’s transfer from FC Nantes to Cardiff City FC after carefully considering all the evidence presented and all the arguments advanced by both clubs, according to the decision.
“FC Nantes’ claim for the first installment of the transfer fee of six million euros was upheld” because the requirements outlined in the transfer agreement were satisfied before the player’s passing.
The CAS panel also stated that it was not FIFA’s responsibility to consider Cardiff’s argument that it was not compelled to pay FC Nantes a transfer fee since FC Nantes might be held responsible for the player’s death and that such a tort claim would be offset.
Nantes expressed satisfaction with the ruling, stating the court had upheld their long-standing contention that the transfer had already been completed at the time of Sala’s passing.
The Ligue 1 club stated that, as a result, “CAS ordered Cardiff City to pay the transfer fee to FC Nantes and sentenced Cardiff to a historically high sum, in respect of administrative expenses and arbitration costs.”
“FC Nantes is glad that this procedure, which has been trying for everyone connected to Emiliano and was started by Cardiff City then repeatedly postponed by Cardiff City, is finally done.” Cardiff expressed disappointment at the result.
The award fails to address the key issue of FC Nantes’ (and its agents’) responsibility for the collision, which must be resolved.
We anticipate filing an appeal once the club’s attorneys have considered the decision’s justifications, and we won’t be paying FC Nantes until that time.
“If those appeals are denied, and the club is required to pay the transfer fee, it will file a lawsuit for damages against individuals who caused the crash to recoup its losses. This will apply to FC Nantes and its representatives.