Cardiff City deny trying to insure Emiliano Sala for £20m the morning after his death

Emiliano Sala died in a plane crash in January 2019  (Reuters)
Emiliano Sala died in a plane crash in January 2019 (Reuters)

Cardiff City have denied trying to take out a £20m insurance policy on Emiliano Sala the day after he died in a plane crash, after the claim was made in the club’s latest court battle.

Sala was flying from Nantes, France to the Welsh capital in January 2019 to join the then-Premier League club Cardiff when his plane came down in the English Channel, killing both the 28-year-old footballer and the pilot, David Ibbotson.

Cardiff are now seeking £10m in damages from Miller Insurance LLP, claiming the firm failed to explain that it needed prior warning to add a new signing like Sala to the club’s insurance package.

Lawyers representing Miller Insurance say Cardiff were fully aware that Sala was not covered, and that the club only contacted the broker about insuring Sala the day after his flight went missing. Alistair Schaff KC told the High Court the club emailed Miller seeking to take out £20m insurance coverage for the player the next morning.

Miller claims to have warned Cardiff that a new signing would not be covered until the insurance company had been notified.

However, in a statement, the club hit out at media reports of the case and denied they made any efforts to insure Sala after his death.

“There has been selective reporting today of the defence filed against the claim the Club has brought against its insurance brokers for doing their job negligently,” Cardiff said.

“The Club did not try to insure Emiliano after the plane crash. All Cardiff City Football Club staff understood from its broker that all players were insured from the moment they were signed, and the case arises from learning they were not.

“It will reply to the allegations made in the defence that are untrue, or portrayed out of context, in the court proceedings and will not litigate this case in the media.”

The legal battle follows the imprisonment of flight organiser David Henderson for his role in the tragedy.

In August, in a separate dispute between the two clubs involved in the transfer, Cardiff and Nantes, the Welsh side were ordered to pay the first instalment of Sala’s transfer fee after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) ruled the deal was complete before his death.

A Cas statement read: “The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has dismissed the appeal filed by Cardiff City Football Club against Football Club de Nantes in relation to the decision issued by the bureau of the FIFA players’ status committee on September 25, 2019 (the challenged decision).

“The challenged decision, in which Cardiff City FC was ordered to pay six million euros to FC Nantes in connection with the transfer of the player Emiliano Sala between the clubs, is confirmed.”