Cardiff City may be docked points for not making Sala payment to Nantes, says legal expert

Cardiff City may be docked points for not making Sala payment to Nantes, says legal expert
Cardiff City could be penalized by the Premier League if they fail to make their scheduled payments to French side Nantes for the ill-fated €17.1mn ($19.4mn) transfer of Emiliano Sala, according to a sports law expert.

Cardiff City were issued a formal letter on Tuesday in which Sala's previous club Nantes informed them that they must meet the agreed payment plan agreed by both parties ahead of Sala's January transfer to the Premier League side.

According to reports, Nantes asked for the first of three yearly payments, believed to be €6mn ($6.8mn), to be paid within 10 days of receipt of the letter.

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However, some observers noted that the timing of the letter was unfortunate, given that the search for Sala and pilot Dave Ibbotson had not yet concluded.

"The only thing I can say because it is a sensitive subject is that I confirm that what you are saying is true," Cardiff chairman Mehmet Dalman said to the media about the issue.

"And, to be honest, I do not want to say anything more in the state. The first thing is that the body has not been recovered yet. We must show respect to the family."

The pair went missing on January 21 when a single-engine plane's flight between Nantes and Cardiff –piloted by Ibbotson– disappeared from radar screens shortly after requesting permission to descend.

Wreckage of the aircraft was discovered on the seabed 67m-deep in the English Channel, near Guernsey, following a privately-funded search conducted by famed shipwreck hunter David Mearns, who employed state-of-the-art sonar techniques to locate the Piper Malibu aircraft.

A body has since been removed from the wreckage but had not yet been publicly identified at the time of writing.

Cardiff City are understood to want to clarify "all the facts" before authorizing the first payment to the French side, but Zurich-based lawyer Gianpaolo Monteneri says that the club could be punished if they don't pay up on time.

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"If certain deadlines which are mentioned in the transfer contract are not met, then these may trigger consequences for the club in question," he said.

"This can be from an admonishment right up to a withdrawal of league points. It is a very tricky situation as we are talking about a human tragedy and an important amount of money.

"It is a human case on one side and, on the other side for Nantes, a financial case and compensation that they are potentially not receiving. They have also lost a key player and for them it is a sporting effect as well that needs to be considered."