Cardiff make cheque claim in fight over Emiliano Sala fee
26th February 2021

REVEALED: Cardiff accuse Nantes of backdating a cheque to Emiliano Sala’s mother to hide that he was still their player when he died in a plane crash, as the Championship club appeal to Court of Arbitration for Sport in bid to avoid paying £15m fee

  • Cardiff had agreed to sign Emiliano Sala for £15m before his tragic death
  • The Championship club have appealed to have the transfer fee wiped out
  • Cardiff claimed Nantes backdated a cheque to hide that Sala was their player

Cardiff City have accused Nantes of backdating a cheque to obscure the fact they owned Emiliano Sala, in the Championship club’s increasingly acrimonious fight to have the £15million transfer fee they paid for the player wiped out.

Cardiff have gone to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to appeal UEFA’s decision that they should pay the club-record fee in full.

They now say that Nantes backdated a cheque made out to Sala’s mother to hide the fact he was still their legal responsibility when he died in a plane crash. 

Emiliano Sala holds up a Cardiff City shirt after agreeing to join for £15million in January 2019

The wreckage of the aircraft carrying Sala and David Ibbotson was found on February 4, 2019 

They also claim the involvement of Nantes’ agents in organising the grossly inadequate aircraft on which he died proves he was still the French club’s player.

Nantes insist that Cardiff had completed the transfer documents, a position UEFA have supported after their own investigation.

The cheque in question was dated January 21, 2019, the day the aircraft went missing. It was made out to his mother, Mercedes Taffarel, and pays her a sum of €16,291 (£14,020), owed to Sala as part of the termination of his contract in France. Cardiff argue that Nantes backdated the cheque to establish that they ‘no longer had a legal link with Sala’. 

Cardiff accused Nantes of backdating a cheque to hide that he was their player when he died

They claim it is ‘inconceivable’ that the club would have sent the cheque on the same day as Sala’s death and that the cheque would not have been sent to Mrs Taffarel until they knew the player had died in the crash. Sala’s body was not identified until February 7, 2019. 

The cheque is being examined by CAS, but the French media have reported that Cardiff have also sent it to the Nantes public prosecutors’ office.

The club and the prosecutors’ office declined to comment.

Before the second anniversary of the striker’s death last month, Cardiff pledged to launch an Emiliano Sala Memorial Trust, with a £2million donation from the club.

They hope the trust fund might help create a sports stadium in Sala’s name in his home village of Cululu, Argentina, as well as support the player’s family.

Sala died on January 21, 2019, after a plane carrying him to Cardiff crashed in English Channel

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