NANTES, France — French club Nantes will pay tribute to late Argentine player Emiliano Sala by wearing a special blue and white shirt during Sunday’s league game gainst Bordeaux.
Nantes, which traditionally plays in yellow and green, said Tuesday that the commemorative outfit is available for sale. All profits from the sales will be allocated to Sala’s training clubs in Argentina.
“Because he dreamed of wearing Argentina’s shirt, Nantes players will leave their usual yellow and green jersey for a white and blue tunic,” Nantes said in a statement.
Sala was killed a year ago when the single-engine aircraft carrying him from Nantes to his new club in Cardiff crashed near the Channel Island of Guernsey on Jan. 21. Hours earlier, FIFA had received an online document from the Welsh soccer federation to complete transferring the player’s registration from France.
Sala’s body was recovered from the wreckage two weeks later.
Nantes said a picture of Sala will also be displayed in the center circle at Stade de La Beaujoire and a minute’s applause will be held in his memory.
Since Sala’s death, Nantes and Cardiff have been involved in a dispute over transfer fee payments. Last year, Cardiff filed a court appeal seeking to overturn a FIFA order it must pay Nantes a 6 million euro ($6.7 million) first payment for Sala. FIFA ruled in favor of Nantes and warned Cardiff it faces a transfer ban of three trading windows if it refuses to pay when the case is settled.
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.”
Paris Saint-Germain again failed to clinch the French league title after losing 3-2 at Nantes on Wednesday.
PSG could have sealed it this past Sunday and the weekend before that but picked up only one point from those two matches. The defending champion leads second-place Lille by 17 points with six games left and can celebrate at the fourth attempt by beating Monaco at home on Sunday, or if Lille fails to win at Toulouse earlier in the day.
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It looked like the celebrations were on at Nantes when the veteran fullback Dani Alves put PSG ahead with a superb dipping shot from outside the penalty area. But the defense crumbled again, letting in an equalizer within four minutes, another goal just before halftime and a third shortly after the break to make it 10 goals conceded in three games.
PSG needed only a draw on Sunday to to seal the eighth league title in its history, but lost 5-1 at Lille – the biggest defeat since Qatari investors QSI took charge in 2011. Before that, PSG needed a home win against Strasbourg but drew 2-2.
PSG let in two goals against Lille from set pieces and did so again this time.
Center half Diego Carlos equalized when he headed in a corner from the left.
Then, one minute before halftime, right back Thilo Kehrer was easily knocked off the ball by Kalifa Coulibaly, and unmarked striker Majeed Waris finished at the back post. A corner from the left in the 52nd led to Carlos turning the ball in from close range, even with three PSG players around him.
Nantes, which moved up to 14th place, missed further chances before PSG substitute Metehan Guclu pulled a goal back in the 90th.
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Cardiff City will tell FIFA this week that that Emiliano Sala’s transfer from Nantes was invalid at the time of his death, therefore they believe they are exempt from paying the $19-million fee previously agreed by the two sides, according to the Guardian.
Nantes filed a formal complaint with FIFA after Cardiff refused to pay the first installment of more than $6 million last month.
Cardiff claim that at the time of Sala’s tragic death, their soon-to-be record signing was still “subject to international clearance” and that he would not have received said clearance because his contract was rejected by the Premier League.
According to Cardiff, the contract did not comply with rules involving signing bonuses. Cardiff claim that Sala died before a revised contract — one that would have met PL standards — could be agreed.
Nantes released the following statement this week:
“FC Nantes has completed all the required paperwork to complete the Emiliano Sala transfer. Thus, Fifa registered the international transfer certificate on 21st January 2019 at 5.30pm. Nantes is fully compliant with Fifa rules.
“As for Emiliano Sala’s registration in the Premier League, FC Nantes has no information about it. And if it could be a problem for Cardiff, it is not a problem for Nantes.”
USMNT and Chelsea center back Matt Miazga lifted the lid on a tumultuous season which had little do with the on-field part of soccer.
Speaking with Goal.com, Miazga opened up on his truncated loan at Ligue 1 side Nantes, current run at Reading, and the key figures as he tries to earn more Premier League playing time.
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But he also spoke about the tragic plane accident that claimed the lives of two including his former teammate Emiliano Sala.
Miazga said he prays for Sala and his family, in reflecting on the striker with Goal.com’s Nizaar Kinsella:
“I knew him for six months, we lined up together in the same shirt, fought together, travelled together, ate together, trying to win football matches,” Miazga said. “We spoke French, and he let me practice my French. It is very, very sad. Rest in peace. No one wants to see it happen, especially to someone you know. You would never think it could happen in 2019. A good guy, a good player which was shown by his big-money Premier League transfer.”
It’s tough to read. Losing a co-worker is one thing, but the bonds of sport seem to stitch themselves together a little tighter.