In Brief

Emiliano Sala: Nantes bill Cardiff City £5.27m for first instalment of transfer fee

Demand comes as body recovered from wreckage of plane that crashed with the missing player on board

Cardiff City chairman Mehmet Dalman has confirmed that French club Nantes have billed the Bluebirds £5.27m (€6m) for the first instalment of Emiliano Sala’s transfer fee.

The Argentine striker signed for Cardiff last month, days before a plane carrying the player and pilot David Ibbotson crashed into the English channel. Sala was returning to Wales following a farewell visit to Nantes when the aircraft went down.

The UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) announced yesterday that a body has been recovered from the wreckage of the Piper Malibu N264DB aircraft, which lost radar contact near Guernsey on 21 January.

According to the BBC, Cardiff have “withheld the first scheduled payment until they are satisfied with the documentation”, and have expressed their “surprise” at the timing of the invoice.

The broadcaster says that the transfer fee, £15m (€17m) in total, is due to be paid in instalments over three years and that Nantes are “threatening legal action if they do not receive a payment within ten days”.

It is believed that Bordeaux are also entitled to 50% of the transfer fee, under the terms of a deal agreed when Nantes bought Sala from the club in 2015.

Nantes have not commented on the claim but in an interview with French newspaper L’Equipe, Dalman said that Cardiff have been billed.

However, the Cardiff chair said he didn’t wish to go into details about the “sensitive subject”.

“We must show respect to the family,” he said. “There is the process of salvaging the aircraft. It is too early for us to comment.”

Dalman refused to say what he thought about the timing of the invoice. Asked if he intended to pay it, he replied: “I don’t think that Cardiff FC have said we weren’t going to pay.”

Meanwhile, the AAIB said that the body recovered from the wreckage has been taken to the Isle of Portland, where it will be passed to the Dorset coroner for identification.

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