World football governing body FIFA, has ruled that £5.3m of Emiliano Sala’s £15m transfer fee must be paid by Cardiff City to French side Nantes after the striker died in a plane crash over the English Channel earlier this year.
The Argentine striker and pilot David Ibbotson were both traveling from Nantes towards Cardiff on January 21 when their light aircraft crashed, two days after the Welsh club concluded all the contractual paperwork for their record 17m euro (£15m) signing, according to FIFA.
There was now a dispute between the two clubs whether Sala was a Cardiff or a Nantes player at the time of the plane journey, and whether Cardiff would have to pay the transfer fee agreed by the clubs.
The Welsh club reportedly attempted to prove that culpability for the crash which killed the 28-year-old old lay with the French club – a strategy they hope will allow them to reduce their financial exposure.
Despite the Monday’s ruling, if the two clubs don’t reach a resolution in 10 days time an appeal can be lodged and the case will go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.
A statement from FIFA on Monday read: ‘The FIFA Players’ Status Committee, which never lost sight of the specific and unique circumstances of this tragic situation during its deliberations on the dispute at stake, refrained from imposing procedural costs on the parties.
The findings of the decision were notified to the parties concerned today.’