Emiliano Sala ‘left alone like a dog’, says father

The late father of Emiliano Sala said the star footballer was left "like a dog" after the £15 million transfer to Cardiff which ultimately led to his death.

Sala, 28, had just signed from French side Nantes when he disappeared with the pilot of the Piper Malibu private plane when it crashed in the English Channel north of Guernsey on January 21.

His body was recovered on February 6 following an extensive search but pilot David Ibbotson, 59, of Crowle, Lincolnshire, has not been located.

AIR Channel
Wreckage of the plane carrying Emiliano Sala was found in the English Channel (PA Graphics)

Horacio Sala died in April, but told BBC Wales before his death that all parties involved in the transfer – including clubs and agents – should have made more effort to look after the welfare of his son.

He said: "I always expected to find him alive, but when the news said the plane was in the sea, it became impossible.

"Why was it so hard for them to find something safe? Why couldn't they?

"They left him alone, they left him alone like a dog. They abandoned him."

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The funeral of Emiliano Sala
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The funeral of Emiliano Sala
The Cardiff FC manager and club chief executive paid their respects at a public vigil in Sala's hometown in Argentina.
The Cardiff FC manager and club chief executive paid their respects at a public vigil in Sala's hometown in Argentina.
The Cardiff manager and club chief executive paid their respects at a public vigil in Sala’s hometown in Argentina.
PROGRESO, ARGENTINA - FEBRUARY 16: Hundreds of people, relatives and residents of Progreso bid farewell to the remains of Emiliano Sala after a vigil at Sala's boyhood club San Martin de Progreso on February 16, 2019 in Progreso, Argentina. 28-year-old striker was killed when the private plane carrying him from Nantes to Cardiff crashed in the English Channel near Alderney on January 21. Sala's body was recovered from the wreckage on February 6 and pilot David Ibbotson remains missing. (Photo by Gustavo Garello/Getty Images)
PROGRESO, ARGENTINA - FEBRUARY 16: Football player of Nantes Nicolas Pallois (R), Dario Sala (C) brother of Emiliano Sala and Horacio Sala (C-back) his father, along with other relatives and friends carry the coffin followed by Sala's mother Carina Mercedes Taffarel (L) after a vigil at Sala's boyhood club San Martin de Progreso on February 16, 2019 in Progreso, Argentina. 28-year-old striker was killed when the private plane carrying him from Nantes to Cardiff crashed in the English Channel near Alderney on January 21. Sala's body was recovered from the wreckage on February 6 and pilot David Ibbotson remains missing. (Photo by Gustavo Garello/Getty Images)
PROGRESO, ARGENTINA - FEBRUARY 16: A relative of Emiliano sala cries after a vigil at Sala's boyhood club San Martin de Progreso on February 16, 2019 in Progreso, Argentina. 28-year-old striker was killed when the private plane carrying him from Nantes to Cardiff crashed in the English Channel near Alderney on January 21. Sala's body was recovered from the wreckage on February 6 and pilot David Ibbotson remains missing. (Photo by Gustavo Garello/Getty Images)
PROGRESO, ARGENTINA - FEBRUARY 16: A cross a flower arrangements are seen after a vigil at Sala's boyhood club San Martin de Progreso on February 16, 2019 in Progreso, Argentina. 28-year-old striker was killed when the private plane carrying him from Nantes to Cardiff crashed in the English Channel near Alderney on January 21. Sala's body was recovered from the wreckage on February 6 and pilot David Ibbotson remains missing. (Photo by Gustavo Garello/Getty Images)
PROGRESO, ARGENTINA - FEBRUARY 16: A poster with Emiliano Sala's portrait and a phrase that reads 'Your legacy will be eternal' is taken away after a vigil at Sala's boyhood club San Martin de Progreso on February 16, 2019 in Progreso, Argentina. 28-year-old striker was killed when the private plane carrying him from Nantes to Cardiff crashed in the English Channel near Alderney on January 21. Sala's body was recovered from the wreckage on February 6 and pilot David Ibbotson remains missing. (Photo by Gustavo Garello/Getty Images)
PROGRESO, ARGENTINA - FEBRUARY 16: Football player of Nantes Nicolas Pallois (R), Dario Sala (C) brother of Emiliano Sala and Horacio Sala (C-back) his father, along with other relatives and friends carry the coffin followed by Sala's mother Carina Mercedes Taffarel (L) after a vigil at Sala's boyhood club San Martin de Progreso on February 16, 2019 in Progreso, Argentina. 28-year-old striker was killed when the private plane carrying him from Nantes to Cardiff crashed in the English Channel near Alderney on January 21. Sala's body was recovered from the wreckage on February 6 and pilot David Ibbotson remains missing. (Photo by Gustavo Garello/Getty Images)
Nantes' French defender Nicolas Pallois (C-L) Dario Sala (L) brother of late Argentine footballer Emiliano Sala and Horacio Sala (R-back) his father, along with other relatives and friends, carry the coffin as they leave Club Atletico y Deportivo San Martin during the funeral service in Progreso, Santa Fe, Argentina on February 16, 2019. - The death in a plane crash of Cardiff City striker Emiliano Sala was a cruel blow to family, friends and supporters in his home village in Argentina, and on Saturday they came, grieving, from miles around to pay their respects. (Photo by JUAN MABROMATA / AFP) (Photo credit should read JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images)
PROGRESO, ARGENTINA - FEBRUARY 16: Relatives react as the coffin is being place in the hearse to take it to Santa Fe after a vigil at Sala's boyhood club San Martin de Progreso on February 16, 2019 in Progreso, Argentina. 28-year-old striker was killed when the private plane carrying him from Nantes to Cardiff crashed in the English Channel near Alderney on January 21. Sala's body was recovered from the wreckage on February 6 and pilot David Ibbotson remains missing. (Photo by Gustavo Garello/Getty Images)
Nantes' French defender Nicolas Pallois (C) Dario Sala (2-L) brother of late Argentine footballer Emiliano Sala, Horacio Sala (C-back) his father along with relatives and friends, carry the coffin during his funeral at the Club Atletico y Deportivo San Martin in Progreso, Santa Fe, Argentina on February 16, 2019. - The death in a plane crash of Cardiff City striker Emiliano Sala was a cruel blow to family, friends and supporters in his home village in Argentina, and on Saturday they came, grieving, from miles around to pay their respects. (Photo by JUAN MABROMATA / AFP) (Photo credit should read JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images)
PROGRESO, ARGENTINA - FEBRUARY 16: Horacio Sala father of Emiliano cries after a vigil at Sala's boyhood club San Martin de Progreso on February 16, 2019 in Progreso, Argentina. 28-year-old striker was killed when the private plane carrying him from Nantes to Cardiff crashed in the English Channel near Alderney on January 21. Sala's body was recovered from the wreckage on February 6 and pilot David Ibbotson remains missing. (Photo by Gustavo Garello/Getty Images)
Romina Sala sister of late Argentine footballer Emiliano Sala, kisses her brother's coffin after it was loaded on a hearse, during his funeral at the Club Atletico y Deportivo San Martin in Progreso, Santa Fe, Argentina on February 16, 2019. - The death in a plane crash of Cardiff City striker Emiliano Sala was a cruel blow to family, friends and supporters in his home village in Argentina, and on Saturday they came, grieving, from miles around to pay their respects. (Photo by JUAN MABROMATA / AFP) (Photo credit should read JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images)
Nantes' French defender Nicolas Pallois (L) and relatives of late Argentine footballer Emiliano Sala carry his coffin during the funeral at the Club Atletico y Deportivo San Martin in Progreso, Santa Fe, Argentina on February 16, 2019. - The death in a plane crash of Cardiff City striker Emiliano Sala was a cruel blow to family, friends and supporters in his home village in Argentina, and on Saturday they came, grieving, from miles around to pay their respects. (Photo by JUAN MABROMATA / AFP) (Photo credit should read JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images)
PROGRESO, ARGENTINA - FEBRUARY 16: Emiliano Sala's aunt Mirta Taffarel talks to the media as she leaves the vigil at Sala's boyhood club San Martin de Progreso on February 16, 2019 in Progreso, Argentina. 28-year-old striker was killed when the private plane carrying him from Nantes to Cardiff crashed in the English Channel near Alderney on January 21. Sala's body was recovered from the wreckage on February 6 and pilot David Ibbotson remains missing. (Photo by Gustavo Garello/Getty Images)
PROGRESO, ARGENTINA - FEBRUARY 16: Emiliano Sala's aunt Mirta Taffarel talks to the media as she leaves the vigil at Sala's boyhood club San Martin de Progreso on February 16, 2019 in Progreso, Argentina. 28-year-old striker was killed when the private plane carrying him from Nantes to Cardiff crashed in the English Channel near Alderney on January 21. Sala's body was recovered from the wreckage on February 6 and pilot David Ibbotson remains missing. (Photo by Gustavo Garello/Getty Images)
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His mother, Mercedes Taffarel, added: "It still hurts so much.

"I think he's going to call me on the phone, but no. It's terrible, a pain that I can't explain."

The family want someone to be held accountable for the death, the BBC reported.

An investigation into the plane crash which killed the Argentine footballer will focus on the validity of the pilot's licence.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) named "regulatory requirements" as one of four areas in which further work will be carried out.

Its interim report noted that the type of licence held by the pilot meant he could only fly passengers in the European Union on a cost-sharing basis, rather than for commercial flights.

Pilots with his licence "must have a bona fide purpose for making the flight", according to the AAIB.

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