Cardiff City: Football club told to pay Sala transfer balance

Cardiff City: Football club told to pay Sala transfer balance

Cardiff announced the signing of Emiliano Sala on 19 January, 2019, two days before the plane he was on went missing

Cardiff City has been ordered to pay Nantes the transfer balance for Emiliano Sala, who died in a plane crash before he could play for the Welsh side.

The BBC has been told that Fifa has told the Championship club to pay more than €11m (£9.45m).

That covers the last two instalments of the €17m agreed between the clubs.

Meanwhile, French prosecutors have confirmed several employees of FC Nantes have been arrested.

That is as part of an investigation into money laundering and tax fraud.

In a statement, Nantes public prosecutor’s office said the FC Nantes club manager, his deputy general manager and two people, including a players’ agent, were placed in police custody but have since been released pending an investigation.

Cardiff City has been in dispute with FC Nantes over the transfer fee since the striker’s death in January 2019.

The Argentine had just become Cardiff City’s £15m record signing when the plane carrying him from France to Wales crashed into the English Channel.

In May, the club said it would continue legal action against FC Nantes through the French courts after a Swiss Federal Tribunal decided the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) did not have the power to deal with the club’s claim for damages.

Cardiff failed in its appeal to the CAS over the Fifa ruling, and in January paid the first instalment, believed to be around £7m, of the Sala fee to Nantes.

Fifa then lifted a transfer embargo.

On Friday, the club issued a statement confirming the decision by Fifa they should pay the final two installments.

But it questioned the timing of the Fifa ruling, saying: “It would have been fairer if the requirement to pay FC Nantes had been deferred until the conclusion of the French police investigations and the club’s claim against FC Nantes in the French courts.”

Separately, French investigators confirmed on Friday they were investigating employees of FC Nantes over a number of charges including:

  • Illegal exercise of the activity of a sports agent by a national of a member state or party to the agreement on the European economic area
  • Forgery and use of forgery
  • Misuse of corporate assets
  • Laundering of aggravated tax fraud
  • Organised gang money laundering

Philippe Astruc, district attorney for the Court of Justice of Rennes said: “The French Football Federation has instituted civil proceedings before the investigating judge, as part of its mission to regulate the activity of sports agents in the discipline of football and to defend the moral and material interests of French football.

“The investigations mainly focused on the analysis of contracts, bank accounts and financial flows, with analysis of the numerous documents seized during the search.

“A laundering of large-scale tax evasion would also have been updated against one of the protagonists”

Cardiff City claims Sala’s transfer had not been finalised at the time of his accident.

In May they launched a counter-claim in France for around €100m.

Nantes Commercial Court said last week it would hold a hearing on the merits of that case, probably in the second quarter of 2024.

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