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Exclusive: Cardiff City plan to tell Fifa deal struck to buy Emiliano Sala became 'null and void' after he died

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 24/03/2019 Ben Rumsby
TOPSHOT - People look at yellow flowers displayed in front of the portrait of Argentinian forward Emiliano Sala at the Beauvoir stadium in Nantes, on February 8, 2019. - FC Nantes football club announced on February 8, 2019 that it will freeze the #9 jersey as a tribute to Cardiff City and former Nantes footballer Emiliano Sala who died in a plane crash in the English Channel on January 21, 2019. (Photo by LOIC VENANCE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images) © Getty Images TOPSHOT - People look at yellow flowers displayed in front of the portrait of Argentinian forward Emiliano Sala at the Beauvoir stadium in Nantes, on February 8, 2019. - FC Nantes football club announced on February 8, 2019 that it will freeze the #9 jersey as a tribute to Cardiff City and former Nantes footballer Emiliano Sala who died in a plane crash in the English Channel on January 21, 2019. (Photo by LOIC VENANCE / AFP) (Photo credit should read LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images)

Cardiff City will tell Fifa the deal they struck to buy Emiliano Sala became “null and void” after he died when the club responds to a complaint over their refusal to pay Nantes his £15 million transfer fee.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal details of the case Cardiff plan to submit to football’s world governing body to explain their withholding of the first instalment of that fee amid a row over who owned Sala when he was tragically killed in a plane crash two months ago.

Their response, which they were given until next Wednesday to provide, 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.

Gallery: People we lost in 2019 [Photo Services]

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.

As revealed by this newspaper last month, Sala signed a contract with Cardiff that was rejected by the Premier League only for him to be killed before a revised one could be signed.

It can now be disclosed 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.

Sala would have had to sign a revised deal to play in the Premier League and The Telegraph can reveal there is a dispute about whether he had agreed to do so before he died.

A tribute at Cardiff City Stadium for Emiliano Sala. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images) © Getty Images A tribute at Cardiff City Stadium for Emiliano Sala. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)

Cardiff also plan to argue that a clause in the transfer agreement with Nantes – which they say the French club had even proposed – was not fulfilled.

A source close to the Premier League side told The Telegraph 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 said this had not happened before Sala died on January 21, despite another clause stating both parties had to make “reasonable endeavours” to ensure all conditions in the agreement were met by the following day.

A women looks at the tributes at Cardiff City Stadium for Emiliano Sala. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images) © Getty Images A women looks at the tributes at Cardiff City Stadium for Emiliano Sala. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)

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

The source added: “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, WALES - JANUARY 18: Emiliano Sala on January 18, 2019 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Cardiff City FC/Getty Images) © Getty Images CARDIFF, WALES - JANUARY 18: Emiliano Sala on January 18, 2019 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Cardiff City FC/Getty Images)

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

Cardiff also had nothing to do with the flight on which Sala was killed and had even offered him an alternative itinerary.

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 21th 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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