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Emiliano Sala contract not legally binding, Cardiff to tell FIFA

Sky News logo Sky News 25/03/2019

Cardiff City will tell world football's governing body FIFA that the contract to sign Emiliano Sala from Nantes was not legally binding.

a person holding a sign: Emiliano Sala was Cardiff's record signing © Other Emiliano Sala was Cardiff's record signing

The Welsh club have refused to pay the £15m transfer fee for the striker, who was killed in a plane crash two months ago.

Ligue 1 outfit Nantes have complained to FIFA, and Premier League side Cardiff have until 3 April to respond.

The 28-year-old Argentinian died, along with pilot David Ibbotson, when the Piper Malibu aircraft they were travelling in came down in the English Channel on 21 January, two days after the Welsh club made him their record signing "subject to international clearance".

a person smiling for the camera: Sala died aged 28 in a plane crash © Other Sala died aged 28 in a plane crash

Cardiff have refused to pay the first £5m instalment of the Sala transfer fee.

It is understood Cardiff will argue that Sala's contract had been rejected by the Premier League because it contravened signing-on fee rules and was therefore 'null and void'.

He had been unable to sign a revised deal before his death.

The club will also claim that further contract clauses - proposed by Nantes - had not been met.

Without these clauses being fulfilled, Cardiff will argue Sala was perfectly entitled to join another club with more than a week of the January transfer market remaining.

Nantes say they are fully compliant with FIFA rules and point to the fact that FIFA registered the international transfer certificate on 21 January, 2019 at 5.30pm.

A Cardiff spokesperson said: "The club is aware of FIFA's request for a response by 3 April and is processing that accordingly. We have no further comment at this stage."

Separately, Cardiff City has denied claims it failed to offer Emiliano Sala suitable travel arrangements before his ill-fated flight to the UK.

In a statement the club said: "Cardiff City FC strongly rejects the claim that it neglected to provide Mr Sala with travel arrangements.

"Our club was in the process of organising a commercial flight for Mr Sala until this offer was declined owing to separate arrangements being made - the planning and specifics of which Cardiff was not privy to.

"Cardiff has serious concerns over the potential unlawfulness of the journey following information that has been released. Clearly more answers as to the details surrounding this terrible tragedy are required."

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