Cardiff face an embargo on signing players for three transfer windows if they do not pay Nantes the €6m (£5.2m) first instalment of the transfer fee for the late Emiliano Sala following Fifa’s ruling in Nantes’ favour.
That part of the decision by Fifa’s players’ status committee, made on 25 September after Cardiff refused to pay Nantes the fee, was revealed under football’s world governing body’s new policy of publishing the full decisions of its committees.
Fifa had released only brief details of rulings, including the one against Cardiff relating to Sala, the Argentinian striker who died when his plane crashed into the sea on 21 January, two days after Cardiff signed him.
The full decision, published on Monday contained the reasons for the committee’s decision, ordering Cardiff to pay the first, overdue instalment of the three-year, €17m fee, plus 5% annual interest from 27 January, and the transfer embargo if they fail to do so within 45 days of Nantes providing their bank details. That is understood to be a standard penalty imposed by Fifa for non-payment of money due.
“[Cardiff] shall be banned from registering any new players, either nationally or internationally, up until the due amounts are paid and for the maximum duration of three entire and consecutive registration periods,” the ruling states, if the club do not pay Nantes.
Any transfer embargo would be immediately lifted once the amount owing is paid. Fifa explained the payment is suspended if a party to a dispute appeals to the court of arbitration for sport, which Cardiff immediately said they would.
A spokesman for Cardiff confirmed the 45-day deadline is suspended pending Cas hearing the case. The club have until the end of this month to submit their reasons.
The committee’s ruling reveals Cardiff are seeking to hold Nantes and Sala’s agent, Willie McKay, responsible for the financial loss caused by the player’s death in the Channel. The club argue that McKay was acting on behalf of Sala on a mandate from Nantes when he commissioned the ill-fated flight. He has denied any involvement in the selection of the plane or the pilot.
Nantes rejected that argument, saying McKay’s son Mark was the registered football agent with whom they dealt and that was only to negotiate the transfer with Cardiff. The return flight between Cardiff and Nantes, for Sala to say his farewells at the French club, was not organised with their authority, Nantes argued.
The players’ status committee decided its authority was limited to determining that the transfer had been validly concluded, according to football’s international procedures, to make Sala a registered Cardiff player hours before he died.
Any claims of criminal or civil liability relating to the circumstances of his death are for courts to decide, the committee ruled.