May 10 – The ongoing and ugly dispute over the transfer to Cardiff City of Emiliano Sala from Nantes saw another loss to Cardiff in the in the Swiss Federal Court in Lausanne.
The Federal Court rejected Cardiff’s appeal against a CAS judgement that ordered the Welsh club that plays in the English leagues to pay the €17 million transfer fee even though Sala tragically died in a plane crash before he could play a game.
The Swiss court also ordered Cardiff to pay the legal costs (CHF 47,000) in court costs, as well as “compensation of 57,000 Swiss francs for costs” to Nantes.
Cardiff have consistently argued that Sala’s transfer agreement (in particular linked to a clause relating to the signing bonus) was not valid. Cardiff have now lost their argument three times – firstly before FIFA’s player status commitee, which ordered them to pay the first €6 million instalment to Nantes, then before CAS and now in the highest Swiss court.
While FIFA ordered Cardiff to pay the first €6 million, the club is also contesting the two further payment – €6 million and €5 million) at FIFA, saying that Nantes should be held responsible for Sala’s death and is set to launch criminal proceedings against Nantes.
In a statement the club recognised the Swiss court decision and briefly outlined its next steps saying: “This isn’t a surprise, and the Club has already prepared separate legal action against them which will be started straightaway as FC Nantes must be held responsible for the accident organised by their agent.
“This will be to recover what the Club paid for Emiliano and additional damages for further consequential losses.”
The intermediary Nantes used for the transfer was unlicensed agent Mark McKay, son of Willie McKay.
In March Cardiff owner Vincent Tan told Swiss media: “We were never able to use the very promising player we had bought. Emiliano Sala could have scored the few goals that would have saved us from demotion to the Championship (Cardiff finished 18th in the Premier League at the end of the 2018-2019 season). This resulted in a loss of £100 million po, at least, for the club. With Sala, we could have avoided relegation. He didn’t play a single game for us. Why should we pay for his entire transfer? FC Nantes must be punished. He negotiated with an unlicensed agent.”
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