FIFA orders Cardiff to pay Nantes €6m as first instalment for Sala

October 1 – Cardiff City have been ordered by FIFA to pay the first instalment of €6 million to Nantes for £15 million striker Emiliano Sala who died in January when the light aircraft carrying him to Cardiff two days after he signed crashed into the sea before he could play a single game.

Cardiff have long argued they were not liable for any of the fee since Sala was not officially their player when he tragically died since his playing registration was not complete and therefore the transfer was null and void.

The case ended up at the door of FIFA’s players’ status committee which has now sided with Nantes.

“In a meeting held on September 25, 2019, the FIFA players’ status committee established that Cardiff must pay Nantes the sum of €6,000,000, corresponding to the first instalment due in accordance with the transfer agreement concluded between the parties on January 19, 2019 for the transfer of the late Emiliano Sala from Nantes to Cardiff,” a statement said.

“The FIFA players’ status committee, which never lost sight of the specific and unique circumstances of this tragic situation during its deliberations on the dispute at stake, refrained from imposing procedural costs on the parties.

“The findings of the decision were notified to the parties concerned today. Within a deadline of 10 days, Cardiff and Nantes can request a copy of the grounds of the decision, which can be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.”

It is not clear from FIFA’s statement whether Cardiff will be liable for the full fee when other instalments become due and the club released its response to the judgement, seeking clarification before deciding whether to appeal.

“Cardiff FC acknowledges the decision announced today by FIFA’s players’ status committee regarding the transfer of Emiliano Sala,” it said. “We will be seeking further clarification from FIFA on the exact meaning of their statement in order to make an informed decision on our next steps.”

Some reports suggest Cardiff are prepared to go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. A statement issued by FC Nantes’ lawyers, Jerome Marsaudon and Louis-Marie Absil, welcomed FIFA’s decision.

“Cardiff must respect its commitments and the rules of sports law,” their statement read. “Beyond the human tragedy that affected the entire sports community with the death of Emiliano Sala, FIFA has just reminded that the legal security of the commitments made by clubs in the context of player transfers must be respected.

“It is not a surprise, it confirms the position that FC Nantes has held for the last nine months: Emiliano Sala signed with Cardiff; his contract with Nantes was over; the international transfer contract (ITC), delivered by FIFA, states that on the day of the accident Emiliano was indeed a Cardiff player.”

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