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Cardiff City parts ways with Neil Warnock

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Cardiff City has fired manager Neil Warnock with the 70-year-old boss in his fourth season with the club.

The Bluebirds sit 14th in the Championship table, on a six-match run that features just a single win.

Warnock’s tenure at Cardiff City featured promotion from the Championship in 2017/18 via a second-place finish in the league table. It wouldn’t last long, as they were relegated the next year, finishing 18th, two points back of Brighton Hove & Albion in safety.

“I am leaving my beloved Bluebirds after over three years of which have been some of the best days in my long football career,” Warnock said, with the club officially stating the decision came via mutual consent. “It is a shared belief that this is the right time for a new voice as we believe this squad of players is more than capable of getting success.”

“On behalf of Cardiff City Football Club, I thank Neil for his invaluable contribution to the future of this great Club,” said Cardiff City FC Chairman Mehmet Dalman in a club statement. “He not only gained promotion in his first season but played a pivotal role in uniting the fans and the club. I am personally upset by his departure and wish him the very best for the future.”

At 70 years old and completing his 17th managerial stint with 15 different clubs, it is possible that Warnock’s managerial career is complete. The Sheffield-born former Barnsley player, who turns 71 in less than a month, has taken charge of 112 Premier League games and overseen a record eight promotion campaigns in his career to date.

At Cardiff, Warnock took charge of 144 matches total, with 59 wins. He was in the position for the death of Emiliano Sala, which he called “by far the most difficult week of my career.”

FIFA verdict in Sala case warns of Cardiff transfer ban

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ZURICH — FIFA has warned Cardiff it is facing a transfer ban of three windows if the club fails to send 6 million euros ($6.7 million) to Nantes as the first payment for Emiliano Sala.

The threat facing Cardiff was detailed Monday in FIFA’s published verdict in a dispute over the Argentine forward who died in a plane crash in January before playing for his new team.

After getting the written verdict in recent days, Cardiff can appeal against FIFA’s ruling at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

FIFA says an appeal will stop the clock on Cardiff’s 45-day deadline to pay until a binding verdict by CAS. That could take about one year.

Sala was killed when a single-engine aircraft carrying him from Nantes to Cardiff to complete his move crashed near the Channel Island of Guernsey late on Jan. 21.

Hours earlier, FIFA says, it received an online document from the Welsh soccer federation to complete transferring the player’s registration from France.

Cardiff to appeal Sala transfer fee ruling

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Cardiff City have confirmed they will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) after being ordered by FIFA to pay the first instalment of $6.5 million to Nantes for striker Emiliano Sala.

Sala signed for Cardiff in January but was killed in a plane crash in the English Channel on Jan. 21. He was flying to Cardiff to being training with his new team after completing his $18.4 million transfer to the then Premier League club.

Nantes had complained to FIFA that Cardiff hadn’t paid them the first instalment for Sala, as the Welsh side claimed it wasn’t legally binding and the two clubs met FIFA in Switzerland last week.

FIFA then ordered Cardiff to pay the transfer fee for Sala, and the Bluebirds have released the following statement as they confirmed they will appeal to CAS.

“Following FIFA’s update on their announcement regarding the transfer of Emiliano Sala, Cardiff City Football Club will be launching an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Cardiff City FC is extremely disappointed at the decision of the Players Status Committee to award against the club. It would appear the committee has reached its conclusion on a narrow aspect of the overall dispute, without considering the full documentation presented by Cardiff City FC to FIFA.

“Nevertheless there remains clear evidence that the transfer agreement was never completed in accordance with multiple contractual requirements which were requested by Nantes, thereby rendering it null and void. We shall be appealing to CAS in order to seek a decision which considers all of the relevant contractual information and provides clarity on the full legal situation between our two clubs.”

Cardiff added that “this is a complex matter, which includes ongoing civil and criminal considerations both in the UK and abroad, which will likely have an impact on the validity of the transfer. It is therefore vital that a comprehensive judgement is reached following a full assessment and review of the facts.”

FIFA orders Cardiff to pay Nantes initial fee for Emiliano Sala

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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.

Two jailed over CCTV footage of Sala’s autopsy

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SWINDON, England — Two people who worked for a security company have been jailed for illegally accessing footage of the autopsy of Argentine soccer player Emiliano Sala, leading to it being circulated online.

Swindon Crown Court on Monday sentenced Sherry Bray, the director of Wiltshire-based Camera Security Services Limited, and her employee, Christopher Ashford, to 14 months and five months in prison, respectively.

Prosecutors said Bray accessed the closed-circuit television camera footage from a mortuary in Bournemouth a day after Sala’s body was recovered on Feb. 6. He had been missing since the single-engine Piper Malibu aircraft carrying him and pilot David Ibbotson crashed near the Channel Island of Guernsey on Jan. 21.

The 28-year-old Sala, who had played for French club Nantes, was traveling to join his new team, Cardiff, in Wales.

Bray allegedly sent a message to Ashford before his night shift, saying: “There’s a nice one on the table for you to watch when you’re next in.”

Both Bray and Ashford replayed the clip of Sala’s autopsy during separate shifts before Bray took a picture of it on her mobile phone and sent it to her daughter on Facebook Messenger, leading to it being widely shared on social media, prosecutors said.

Bray was also accused of taking a picture of another body in the mortuary, of a man who had died in non-suspicious circumstances.

Forensic pathologist Doctor Basil Purdue said it had been a “flagrant breach of medical confidentiality.”

Sala’s sister, Romina Sala, said in a statement that she had found out about the leak when she saw pictures of her brother’s body on Instagram.

“I cannot believe there are people so wicked and evil who could do that,” Romina Sala’s statement said. “I’ll never erase those images from my head. My brother and mother can never forget about this.”

The defendants each admitted three counts of computer misuse at the court in August. Bray also admitted to obstructing justice by deleting the photos from her phone and instructing Ashford to do the same.

Judge Peter Crabtree told Bray and Ashford: “You have both abused your positions in quite an appalling way.”