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Nantes take Sala transfer dispute to FIFA

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(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 08, 2019 yellow flowers are displayed in front of the portrait of Argentinian forward Emiliano Sala at the Beaujoire stadium in Nantes, France. – Argentine footballer Emiliano Sala’s body is to be returned to Argentina on Friday for his wake at the Club Atletico y Social San Martin in his hometown Progreso, Santa Fe province. Sala’s body was recovered from plane wreckage in the English Channel last week. He was flying to his new team, English Premier League side Cardiff City, from his old French club Nantes when his plane went missing over the Channel on January 21. (Photo by LOIC VENANCE / AFP)

French club Nantes have referred their dispute with Cardiff City over the transfer fee of Emiliano Sala to FIFA, football’s governing body confirmed on Wednesday.

The clubs are wrangling over payment of the fee following the tragic death of Argentinian Sala in an airplane accident in January.

Nantes referred the matter to the sport’s global body after the Welsh side declined to pay an initial six million euros ($6.8 million) of the 17 million euros ($19.4 million) total fee.

“We can confirm that we have received yesterday evening (Tuesday) a claim from FC Nantes against Cardiff City in connection with the transfer of Emiliano Sala,” a FIFA spokesperson said.

“We are looking into the matter and consequently we have no further comments at this stage.”

Sala died in plane crash on his way from Nantes to Cardiff to join his new club.

Pilot David Ibbotson, 59, was flying the 28-year-old Argentine striker Sala to the Premier League outfit on January 21 when the accident happened.

Cardiff said they wanted to wait for the results of the investigation into the accident before transferring the fee.

Britain’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB)said Monday the plane carrying Sala did not have a commercial licence.

But it said the journey would have been allowed as a “private” flight in which costs are shared between pilot and passenger.

It added that the basis on which Sala was a passenger had not been established.

Football agent Mark McKay had a mandate from Nantes to negotiate the transfer of the professional contract between the two clubs.

Nantes has said that the mandate had expired by the time Sala boarded the flight as he had already signed for Cardiff City.

The investigators also said that since the pilot’s logbook and licence were not recovered, it was unclear whether Ibbotson was authorised to fly at night.

Ibbotson’s body has not been found.


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