Wales

Police probe Cardiff City threat claim over Emiliano Sala

Emiliano Sala Image copyright Getty Images

Police are investigating complaints made by Cardiff City football club in the wake of the death of Argentinian striker Emiliano Sala, it has been confirmed.

It follows claims in a Sunday newspaper that the club has accused the former sports agent Willie McKay of making threats against Cardiff officials.

Mr McKay's son Mark was Nantes' acting agent in the deal for the footballer, who died in a plane crash last month.

Mr McKay denies the allegations.

The Sunday Telegraph reported that the alleged threats were made on the weekend of Sala's funeral in Argentina last month.

In a brief statement, a police spokeswoman said: "South Wales Police can confirm that a complaint has been received from Cardiff City Football Club and is currently being investigated."

The football club said it had been "necessary and appropriate for South Wales Police to be engaged on the matter".

"We will not be commenting further at this time," added a club official.

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Media captionCardiff could have done more - Willie McKay

Last week, Mr McKay told the BBC that he felt Sala was "abandoned" by Cardiff City, and had to arrange his own travel in a £15m transfer from Nantes.

The body of the 28-year-old was found in the wreckage of the Piper Malibu light aircraft in the English Channel on 4 February, after the plane disappeared near Guernsey on 21 January.

The pilot, David Ibbotson, is still missing, and his body has not been found.

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Media caption"You wished you never went and watched the guy play," agent Mark McKay tells BBC sports editor Dan Roan

It emerged on Saturday that Mr Ibbotson had dropped out of training for his commercial pilot's licence before it was completed.

He was not licensed to carry paying passengers, which has led to speculation that the flight was illegal.

An interim report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) on Monday said Mr Ibbotson, 59, from Crowle, North Lincolnshire, held a private licence in the UK and the US, meaning he could not carry paying passengers within the EU, other than on a cost-sharing basis and not for reward.

Image caption The plane carrying Sala disappeared on 21 January

But Mr McKay, who commissioned the fight for Sala, told the BBC last week that the trip was not on a cost-sharing arrangement.

The AAIB's investigation into the fatal crash is continuing, including examining the validity of the pilot's licence.

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