Cardiff to argue Sala transfer was invalid

Cardiff will tell FIFA that Emiliano Sala's move from Nantes was invalid when the club responds to a complaint over their refusal to pay the Ligue 1 outfit his £15million transfer fee.

The 28-year-old Argentinian striker died in a plane crash in the English Channel on January 21, two days after the Premier League club had announced him as their record signing "subject to international clearance".

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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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But Press Association Sport understands that Cardiff will tell football's world governing body that Sala was not eligible to play in the Premier League at the time of his death and was free to join another club had he so wished.

FIFA has given Cardiff until April 3 to respond after Nantes lodged a complaint with them over the Welsh club's refusal to pay the first £5m instalment of the Sala transfer fee.

It is understood Sala's Cardiff contract was rejected by the Premier League because it contravened signing-on fee rules.

Sala died before a revised one could be signed and there is a dispute about whether he had agreed to do so before his death.

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Cardiff will also tell FIFA that the non-fulfilment of legally-binding clauses in the transfer agreement they struck with Nantes for the player made the deal invalid.

Without these clauses being fulfilled, Cardiff will argue that Sala was perfectly entitled to join another club with more than a week of the January transfer market remaining.

Cardiff had nothing to do with the plane on which Sala and pilot David Ibbotson were killed, saying the player had been offered a commercial flight to travel from France to Wales.

A Cardiff spokesperson said: "The club is aware of the FIFA request for response by April 3 and is processing that accordingly, we have nothing further to comment on it at this stage."

Nantes' lawyers first wrote to Cardiff on February 5 asking for the first of three annual payments to be paid within 10 working days.

The deadline was extended but, with no payment received, Nantes carried out their threat on February 27 to take the matter to FIFA's Dispute Resolution Chamber.

A club spokesperson was quoted in the Daily Telegraph as saying: "FC Nantes has completed all the required paperwork to complete the Emiliano Sala transfer.

"Thus, FIFA registered the International Transfer Certificate on 21st January 2019 at 5.30pm. Nantes is fully compliant with FIFA rules.

"As for Emiliano Sala's registration in the Premier League, FC Nantes has no information about it.

"And if it could be a problem for Cardiff, it is not a problem for Nantes."

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