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Dispute over Emiliano Sala’s transfer to Cardiff to be resolved in French courts

09 May 2023 3 minute read
Tributes at Cardiff City Stadium for Emiliano Sala (Credit: PA)

Cardiff City say they have prepared “separate legal action” against Nantes over the Emiliano Sala transfer, with the matter now set to be resolved in the French courts.

The Swiss Federal Tribunal has ruled the Court of Arbitration for Sport does not have the power to deal with Cardiff’s claim for damages against Nantes.

Sala died when the light aircraft he was travelling in from France crashed into the English Channel in January 2019, two days after Cardiff had announced the signing of the 28-year-old Argentinian forward.

Nantes’ claim for the first six million euros (just over £5m) of the £15m transfer fee was upheld by CAS last August.

A statement from the Welsh club read: “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.”

Cardiff maintain that “FC Nantes must be held responsible for the accident” which they allege was “organised by their agent”.

“This will be to recover what the club paid for Emiliano and additional damages for further consequential losses,” Cardiff added.


FIFA originally imposed a three-window transfer embargo on Cardiff after their failure to pay the initial instalment of the Sala fee.

The embargo was lifted after Cardiff paid the first instalment in January.

The Swiss Federal Tribunal said in its published judgement: “It appears that the procedural rules applicable to the FIFA CSJ (Player Status Commission, or Commission de Statut de Joueur) were designed to assure a rapid and inexpensive resolution of disputes.

“Article 25 of the RSTJ (Reglement du Statut et du Transfert du Joueustates) that the CSJ must give its decision in no more than 60 days and costs cannot exceed 25,000 francs.

“That objective would be compromised if it was determined that the CSJ was required to rule on any claim brought before it, including when this has no connection with football regulations.

“The CSJ, in its capacity as a judicial body specialising in certain aspects of football regulations, has neither the expertise nor the means to rule, as in this case, on legally complex issues with international elements unconnected to football.

“The capping of costs at a relatively low amount of 25,000 francs is a further indication that it is not the CSJ’s role to examine claims requiring wide-ranging aeronautical expertise to determine the causes of a plane crash.

“The (CAS) panel underlines that its own jurisdiction presupposes that the CSJ itself had jurisdiction over the claim invoked.

“In other words, when an appeal is made to CAS, it can only examine the claim for compensation if the judicial body called upon in the first instance, in this case the CSJ, was itself able to do so.”

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