Cardiff ‘not in agreement’ with Nantes over Sala payment

Ian Watson

Cardiff chairman Mehmet Dalman says the club are still gathering information over the £15million fee due to Nantes for the transfer of Emiliano Sala but will pay up if “contractually obliged”.

Sala had signed for the Bluebirds in a club-record move from Nantes last month, but was killed when the private plane carrying him crash-landed in the English Channel. He was 28.

His body was recovered from the wreckage last Thursday. Pilot David Ibbotson remains missing, with funds being raised to continue the search, to which Cardiff owner Vincent Tan has made a personal donation of some £50,000.

Nantes, meanwhile, have already requested the first instalment of payment for Sala’s transfer fee.

Dalman, though, maintains the Welsh club must do their own due diligence before deciding how to proceed.

“Of course, if we are contractually obliged to pay them then of course we will. We are an honourable club. But if we are not – and there are some anomalies in that – then surely you would expect me as the chairman and guardian of this club’s interests to look into that and hold our position. That is what we are doing,” the Cardiff chairman said to BBC Sport Wales.

“We are still in the process of gathering information and that process will be ongoing. And when we reach a level where we have enough information, I am sure we will sit down with Nantes and move forward.”

Dalman continued: “They (Nantes) have asked for what they believe is the money due to them and there is a process and they have initiated that process.

“What we are saying is, that we are not in agreement with that process given the extraordinary events that have taken place and the tragic circumstances. We are not making any positive or negative statements.

“We are simply saying, please understand there are a lot of questions which need to be answered and that is what we are trying to do.”

Cardiff manager Neil Warnock found himself in the spotlight for his connections with agent Willie McKay, who had helped make arrangements for the flight which Sala took from Nantes.

Dalman accepted there were “knives out against Neil”, which the Cardiff chairman dismissed as “just nonsense” and threw his support behind the manager.

“It is important that he understands we are there for him,” said Dalman, who also rejected suggestions Warnock’s position was under scrutiny.

“He was there for us in a difficult period and got us promoted. He has brought some great players into the club and I want him to know we are a family.

“The fans, the board, the chairman, the CEO and the owner are fully behind him as he strives to achieve the status of staying in the Premier League.”

Caen, meanwhile, have dedicated Wednesday night’s game against Nantes at the Stade Michel d’Ornano to Sala.

The Argentine forward spent the second half of the 2014-15 season on loan at Caen, scoring five times in 13 games to help keep them in Ligue 1 and earn his move to Nantes from Bordeaux.