The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Friday dismissed an appeal by Cardiff against paying the first installment of the transfer fee for Argentine footballer Emiliano Sala, who died in a plane crash on his way to his new club.
CAS dismissed the former English Premier League club’s appeal against French club Nantes after being ordered to pay €6m.
The procedure only affected the first installment of the total transfer fee of 17 million euros
Flown by pilot David Ibbotson, the light aircraft carrying the 28-year-old forward landed in the English Channel en route to Cardiff on January 21, 2019, two days after he signed with the Bluebirds.
Lausanne-based CAS confirmed that Sala’s transfer was fully completed before his death.
While Nantes welcomed the verdict, Cardiff said they expected to appeal the decision and would not pay anything in the meantime.
In September 2019, the Bureau of FIFA’s Players’ Status Committee ordered Cardiff to pay the first part of the transfer fee.
Cardiff appealed the decision to CAS in November 2019. The parties requested an in-person hearing, which was not possible until the end of 2021. The hearings took place on March 3rd and 4th this year.
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“After due consideration of all evidence submitted and all arguments put forward by both clubs, the CAS Panel has concluded that the player’s transfer from Nantes FC to Cardiff City FC is complete,” the CAS decision reads.
“Because the terms of the transfer agreement were met before the player’s death, FC Nantes’ claim to the first transfer fee of six million euros was granted.”
The CAS Panel also confirmed that it was not for FIFA to consider Cardiff’s claim “that it did not have to pay a transfer fee to Nantes FC because Nantes FC could be liable for the player’s death and that such a tortious claim shall be offset against any payment obligation in relation to the transfer fee”.
Nantes welcomed the decision, saying the court ruled, as always argued, that the transfer was complete when Sala died.
“Consequently, the CAS ordered Cardiff City to pay the transfer fee to FC Nantes and ordered Cardiff to pay a historic high in terms of legal costs and arbitration,” the Ligue 1 club said in a statement.
“FC Nantes are delighted that this process – started by Cardiff City and then delayed several times by Cardiff City – which has been difficult for everyone close to Emiliano, is finally over.”
Cardiff said it was disappointed with the result.