Emiliano Sala: Cardiff's appeal over £5.3m Nantes payment set for spring

A mosaic in the colours of Argentine striker Sala showed his name before kick-off
A mosaic in the colours of Argentine striker Sala showed his name before kick-off

Cardiff City's appeal against paying the first instalment of 6m euros (£5.3m) to Nantes for £15m striker Emiliano Sala is set for next spring.

The appeal will be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Cardiff do not believe they are liable for a transfer fee, but Fifa ruled in September the club must pay for Sala.

The Argentine, who was 28, died in a plane crash in January while travelling from France to join his new club.

French club Nantes and Cardiff have since been in dispute over fee payments, with world governing body Fifa rejecting the Welsh club's arguments.

Cardiff have claimed they were not liable for any of the full £15m fee because Sala was not officially their player when he died.

The club refused to make interim payments, claiming the deal was not legally binding.

A CAS statement confirmed: "An appeal arbitration procedure has been opened... a hearing is likely to be fixed in spring 2020. A final award is not expected before June 2020."

BBC Sport has also learned that the second instalment of the £15m fee agreed for Sala is due to be paid in January 2020.

Nantes argued that having signed with Cardiff, Sala's contract with Nantes was over and that he had become a Cardiff player.

Cardiff could also face a three-window transfer ban if they fail to pay Nantes the first instalment for Sala.

The striker was recruited while Cardiff were in the Premier League and the Bluebirds have since been relegated to the Championship.

Cardiff believe the transfer was null and void, saying the Premier League had rejected certain clauses requested by Nantes in the original contract and that Sala never had a chance to review or sign the final version, meaning their record signing was not registered as a Premier League player.

The plane carrying Sala and pilot David Ibbotson, 59, crashed in the English Channel on 21 January, two days after the player's transfer was announced.

The footballer's body was recovered from the wreckage, but Ibbotson, from Crowle, North Lincolnshire, has still not been found.

Sala was exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide prior to the crash, a report later revealed.

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