CARDIFF CITY have confirmed they will lodge an astonishing £80million-plus legal action against Nantes over the transfer of Emiliano Sala – just as The Sun first revealed.
The club has been taking detailed legal advice for many months on this landmark case, more than four years after the tragic death of the Argentinian striker in the plane crash in January 2019.
After failure to get satisfaction with Fifa, the Sport of Arbitration and the Swiss Federal Tribunal, the Championship club will next week lodge their legal papers in the French courts.
A Cardiff statement said yesterday: “The Swiss Federal Tribunal has decided the Court of Arbitration for Sport does not have jurisdiction to deal with Cardiff City’s claim for damages against FC Nantes.
“This is not a surprise and the club has already prepared separate legal action against them which will be started straight away.”
They maintain that “FC Nantes must be held responsible for the accident” which they allege was “organised by their agent” Willie McKay who organised the ill-fated flight with a pilot who did not have a commercial licence, did not have the appropriate papers to fly at night, and who was actually a part time DJ and plumber!
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The Welsh club added the legal action will be to “recover what the club paid for Emiliano and additional damages for further consequential losses”.
They were forced by Fifa to pay the full £15m transfer fee, despite claims that he was not properly registered as a Cardiff player, but the main compensation claim will be the cost of relegation from the Premier League £100m minus the £20m parachute payments.
Fifa originally imposed a three-window transfer embargo when Cardiff refused to pay the first instalment of the £15m fee.
Cardiff failed in their appeal to CAS in January and agreed to pay £7m to enable the embargo to be lifted.
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Now, as first reported in The Sun, the club’s legal team will formally go ahead with a massive compensation claim on the basis that Sala’s death was negligent, and their legal documents might even refer to the tragic death as ‘manslaughter’.
The Carlos Tevez affair at West Ham is a precedent Cardiff City believe backs their £80m ‘relegation’ compensation claim.
Sheffield United won £26m compensation 15 years ago, the cost they claimed for relegation.
Cardiff feel their case is strengthened by the tape recording where pilot Doug Ibbotson revealed the plane was in such a “dodgy” state that he feared for his life in the journey from Nantes back to Cardiff.
Ibbotson was so scared that he said he wanted to wear a life jacket as he had no idea why a loud and scary bang had occurred on the first flight and he told a friend that would be the last chat between them such was the shoddy state of the the Piper Malibu plane.
Ibbotson had been hired by pilot David Henderson, who served a jail sentence for his part in the scandal, who had in turn taken instruction from Willie McKay, whose son Mark, had the mandate for the transfer from Nantes.
Cardiff dropped out of the Premier League by just one point, and they argue that a new striker would have saved them from the drop, the cost of relegation was £100m plus, minus parachute payments of £20m.
The Sala tragedy came too late for Cardiff to buy an alternative striker as the transfer window closed.
Only a few Sala goals might have kept Cardiff up, just the way that vital Tevez goals saved the Hammers.
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