FIFA has ruled that Cardiff City must pay FC Nantes the initial $6.5 million for the transfer of the late Emiliano Sala, and reportedly will be required to transact the entire $18 million fee once it comes due according to the negotiated deal in January.
The Argentine striker died in a plane crash on the way to his new club, along with the pilot David Ibbotson.
Initially, it seemed by the FIFA announcement that a middle ground had been reached, with FIFA requiring just the $6.5 million to be paid as a way of placating the two sides in an emotionally charged dispute. However, it is now being reported that the payment amount is for the initial fee owed by Cardiff City at the time of the transfer, and that FIFA has ruled that the Welsh club will indeed be on the hook for the entire fee once it comes due. The confusion stems from Nantes only officially appealing to FIFA for the initial payment due in January, but that the precedent has now been set for future installments as well.
Cardiff City has 10 days to accept the decision or appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and reports state they will indeed do so. They have argued that because paperwork had not been completed and Sala had not been registered to the club at his time of death, they were not on the hook for his club-record fee, while Nantes countered that the two parties had agreed to the transfer and because of Sala’s departure from their grounds to make his way to Cardiff City, they should be compensated for his services.
An autopsy in August determined that Sala was exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide prior to his death, with investigators surmising that the exposure likely contributed to the crash. With the body of pilot David Ibbotson still missing, it’s assumed that he was also exposed to the fumes, which could have rendered the duo unconscious, leading to the crash.