Cardiff City plan to tell FIFA deal to buy Emiliano Sala ‘null and void’ after he died

  • Rob Swan

Two months have now passed since the tragic death of Argentine forward Emiliano Sala.

The South American, who was 28 when he died, passed away in a plane crash off Alderney on 21 January.

His body was recovered after a private search was launched, although the body of pilot David Ibbotson remains undiscovered following the accident.

Sala was travelling from Nantes to Cardiff, who had just paid a club-record £15 million fee to secure his signature.

However, Cardiff have so far refused to pay the first instalment of the transfer fee, leading Nantes to make an official complaint to FIFA.

Both clubs paid their respects to Sala but now find themselves in an unfortunate standoff involving money.

And the Telegraph have now exclusively revealed that Cardiff plan to tell FIFA that the deal struck to buy Sala became ‘null and void’ after he died.

The Welsh club were given until next Wednesday to provide a response following Nantes’ formal complaint – and they will include the refusal ‘of the Premier League to allow the striker to play in the competition over what can now be disclosed was a signing-on fee that was non-compliant with its rules’.

The Telegraph add: ‘It will also include what Cardiff will argue is the non-fulfilment of legally-binding clauses in the transfer agreement they struck with Nantes for the player.’

It was previously revealed that Sala had signed a contract with Cardiff that was rejected by the Premier League. He was then killed in the plane crash before a revised contract could be signed and verified.

The Telegraph claim it was rejected because the club had ‘front-loaded his signing-on fee in contravention of rules stipulating such money must be paid in equal instalments over the duration of a player’s contract.’

There is now a dispute over whether Sala had agreed to sign the revised deal to play in the Premier League before he died.

Furthermore, Cardiff plan to argue that a clause in the transfer agreement with Nantes was not fulfilled.

The Telegraph say that a source close to the Premier League old them the agreement stipulated ‘that the Football Association of Wales and France’s Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) had to confirm to both clubs that Sala “has been registered as a Cardiff City FC player and that the player’s International Transfer Certificate has been released”.’

The source revealed this did not happen before Sala died.

“The transfer agreement between Cardiff and Nantes was subject to several conditions,” the source added. “If any were not satisfied, the contract would be deemed null and void, with no payment due.

“Nantes proposed that clause. They asked for the strict notification requirements.

“The transfer deadline was just over a week after that. So if the transfer didn’t complete on the 22nd of January, Nantes had time to find an alternative buyer for the player.

“Cardiff agreed to the condition for much the same reason, because it allowed them another week to find an alternative striker.”

Unsurprisingly, Nantes plan to dispute Cardiff’s case, with a spokesman saying: “FC Nantes has completed all the required paperwork to complete the Emiliano Sala transfer. Thus, Fifa registered the International Transfer Certificate on 21st January 2019 at 5.30pm. Nantes is fully compliant with Fifa rules.

“As for Emiliano Sala’s registration in the Premier League, FC Nantes has no information about it. And if it could be a problem for Cardiff, it is not a problem for Nantes.”

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