November 5 – The aftermath of the tragic death of Argentine striker Emiliano Sala has taken a potentially pivotal twist with Cardiff City threatened with a three-window transfer ban by FIFA if they fail to make an initial payment of €6 million to Sala’s previous club Nantes.
The sum relates to the first instalment that Cardiff were due to pay Nantes in January for Sala, who died in a plane crash over the English Channel on January 21 en route to his new club.
Sala had signed for Cardiff for a £15 million fee with the then-Premier League team but they refused to pay the transfer fee. Cardiff have long argued they were not liable for any of the fee since Sala was not officially their player when he died as 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 sided with Nantes.
The full written reasons have now been published, stating that the transfer had, despite Cardiff’s contention to the contrary, been officially completed before Sala’s death and that therefore Cardiff, now in the English Championship, remained obliged to make payment.
A section of the judgement read: “The player’s transfer from Nantes to Cardiff has to be considered as validly concluded between the parties. Hence, the player was a player of Cardiff.”
If Cardiff do not pay the €6 million within 45 days of receiving bank details from Nantes, “a ban from registering any new players, either nationally or internationally, for the maximum duration of three entire and consecutive registration periods shall become effective.”
FIFA confirmed, however, that when Cardiff formally appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to contest the payment of €6 million, which they are planning to do, the 45-day deadline will be suspended.
FIFA rejected Cardiff’s contention the transfer was not fully completed, saying the Football Association of Wales had undertaken “all the necessary requirements” less than two hours before Sala’s flight left Nantes.
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