Court rejects Cardiff appeal over Sala transfer fee

·3-min read

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Friday dismissed an appeal by Cardiff against having to pay the first instalment of the transfer fee for Argentine footballer Emiliano Sala, who died in a plane accident en route to his new club.

CAS threw out the appeal filed by the former English Premier League side against French club Nantes, after being ordered to pay six million euros ($6 million).

The proceedings only concerned the first instalment of the 17-million-euro total transfer fee.

Flown by pilot David Ibbotson, the small plane carrying the 28-year-old striker came down in the Channel en route to Cardiff on January 21, 2019, two days after signing for the Bluebirds.

Lausanne-based CAS confirmed that Sala's transfer had been fully completed prior to his death.

While Nantes welcomed the ruling, Cardiff said they expected to appeal against the decision and would not be paying anything in the meantime.

In September 2019, the Bureau of the FIFA Players' Status Committee ordered Cardiff to pay the first part of the transfer fee.

Cardiff appealed to CAS over the decision in November 2019. The parties requested the hearing be held in person, which was not possible before the end of 2021.

The hearings took place on March 3 and 4 this year.

"After taking into due consideration all the evidence produced and all the arguments put forward by both clubs, the CAS panel found the player's transfer from FC Nantes to Cardiff City FC to have been completed," CAS said in its decision.

"Because the conditions set out in the transfer agreement were fulfilled prior to the player's death, FC Nantes' claim for the first instalment of the transfer fee in the amount of six million euros was upheld."

The CAS panel also confirmed that it was not for FIFA to entertain Cardiff's claim "that it was not required to pay any transfer fee to FC Nantes, because FC Nantes could be liable for the player's death and that such tort claim was to be set off against any payment obligation with respect to the transfer fee".

- Cardiff mulling appeal -

Nantes welcomed the decision, saying the court had ruled, as they had always argued, that the transfer had been completed when Sala died.

"Consequently, CAS ordered Cardiff City to pay the transfer fee to FC Nantes and sentenced Cardiff to a historically high sum, in respect of procedural costs and arbitration costs," the Ligue 1 side said in a statement.

"FC Nantes is delighted that this procedure -- initiated by Cardiff City then delayed on numerous occasions by Cardiff City -- which has been difficult for all those close to Emiliano, is finally over."

Cardiff said it was disappointed with the outcome.

"The award fails to decide the crucial question of FC Nantes (and its agents)' liability for the crash, which will therefore have to be decided in another forum," the Bluebirds said in a statement.

"Once the club's lawyers have digested the reasons for the decision we expect to appeal and will not be making any payments to FC Nantes in the meanwhile.

"If those appeals are unsuccessful and the club is liable to pay the transfer fee the club will take legal action against those responsible for the crash for damages to recover its losses. This will include FC Nantes, and its agents."

rjm/bsp