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Cardiff City calls for investigation into Sala’s transfer and “doomed flight”

Cardiff City calls for investigation into Sala’s transfer and “doomed flight”

Thursday 30 January 2020

Cardiff City calls for investigation into Sala’s transfer and “doomed flight”

Cardiff City has sent a file to French authorities calling for an investigation into Emiliano Sala’s transfer from FC Nantes and his “doomed flight”, suggesting there is “sufficient evidence of wrongdoing”.

Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson died in January 2019 when the Piper Malibu aircraft that was carrying them from France to Wales went down near Alderney.

The plane first lost contact near Les Casquets just before 21:00 on 21 January 2019 and was found two weeks later lying on the seabed north of Alderney.


Pictured: Emiliano Sala and David Ibbotson died on 21 January 2019.

Mr Sala’s body was recovered from the wreckage but Mr Ibbotson’s was never found.

An interim report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch identified a carbon monoxide leak as a potential factor after a post-mortem examination revealed the footballer had been exposed to a “potentially fatal” level of the gas prior to his death.

The AAIB confirmed the final report should be out by the end of March.

At the time of the crash, Sala was in the process of moving from FC Nantes to Cardiff City, where he had been signed for £15million. 


Pictured: The Piper Malibu aircraft was found lying on the seabed north of Alderney.

Although the 28-year-old Argentinian footballer never made it to his new football team, Nantes demanded payment for the transfer – something Cardiff refused. 

According to the Bluebirds, the contract that Sala had signed was not binding, leading Nantes to put in a complaint to FIFA.

In October 2019, the governing body concluded that Cardiff must pay Nantes €6m – the first instalment of the deal signed on 19 January. 

Cardiff challenged the ruling through the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, and the final decision is not expected before June. 

Meanwhile, Cardiff has contacted the Parquet de Nantes calling for “a full investigation of the facts leading up to the tragedy”.


Pictured: Cardiff City had welcomed Emiliano Sala to the club before the fatal plane crash which claimed his life. The club has now contacted the Parquet de Nantes. (Google Pictures)

A Club Spokesperson explained this was required “not only to fully understand what led to the downing of the Piper PA-46 Malibu plane, but to answer the wider questions that have been highlighted in this case, specifically related to the use of illegal flights in the football industry and the role of intermediaries in player transfers.” 

“As a result of our investigation we believe there is sufficient evidence of wrongdoing that necessitates investigation by the French authorities of those responsible for the arrangement of the transfer on behalf of FC Nantes and for arranging the doomed flight,” the spokesperson added.

“We have therefore passed over information to the Parquet de Nantes to assist their efforts. We remain committed to establishing the full facts and adhering to any final decision on our financial liability in the transfer.”


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