Cardiff City begin £104m court case against Nantes over Emiliano Sala’s tragic death in 2019

Cardiff have launched fresh claims in court over the transfer of striker Emiliano Sala who tragically died in January 2019Cardiff have launched fresh claims in court over the transfer of striker Emiliano Sala who tragically died in January 2019
Cardiff have launched fresh claims in court over the transfer of striker Emiliano Sala who tragically died in January 2019 | AFP via Getty Images
Cardiff have launched fresh claims in court over the transfer of striker Emiliano Sala who tragically died in January 2019

Cardiff City have filed an official complaint in a French court claiming losses of more than £100m against Ligue 1 side Nantes following a dispute over the death of striker Emiliano Sala in January 2019.

In the latest instalment of the drawn-out legal battle between the two clubs, L'Equipe are reporting that Cardiff want damages for the relegation they subsequently suffered from the Premier League at the end of the 2018/19 season.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Welsh side had agreed to sign Sala for a figure of £15m, but the single-piston engine Piper Malibu aircraft transporting Sala from France to Wales crashed off Alderney in the Channel Islands.

It is understood that Cardiff have based their figure of £104m from ‘in-depth analysis’ by a legal expert, according to the Welsh club’s lawyer Celine Jones.

The club enlisted the services of Analytics FC, who calculated the expected goals and points gained had Sala played for them during the second half of the season, adding that they would have had a 54.2 percent chance of avoiding relegation with Sala in their side.

Neil Warnock's Cardiff were relegated in 2019 after finishing third from bottom in the Premier League, two points from safety.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Nantes have launched a counter-claim, which L'Equipe says is based on 'moral damage', and they are demanding Cardiff are fined.

Cardiff initially argued to FIFA that Sala wasn't registered as their player at the time of the plane crash and claimed they were not liable for the £15m transfer fee. As such, they withheld the first instalment of £5m due to Nantes.

However, FIFA ruled the transfer had been completed and imposed a transfer embargo on the Bluebirds for non-payment.

That was only lifted back in January after owner Vincent Tan paid a figure of £7m to Nantes last July after Cardiff failed in efforts to get the Court of Arbitration of Sport to overturn FIFA's decision.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Cardiff are now hoping to reclaim the full £15m fee - plus considerably more - by pursuing the case through the French legal system.

Tan previously told L'Equipe: “I am very angry. We have no choice, we will not stop.

“We were never able to use the very promising player that we had bought. Emiliano Sala could have scored the few goals that would have saved us from demotion to the Championship.

“This resulted in a loss of £100m, at least, for the club. With Sala, we could have been maintained [as a top-flight club].

“He didn't play a single game for us. Why should we pay for his entire transfer? FC Nantes must be punished.”

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.