Cardiff City have been threatened with a three-window transfer ban by FIFA if they fail to pay the first instalment of the fee owed to Nantes for the late Emiliano Sala.

The FIFA Players' Status Committee ruled in September that Cardiff must hand over a €6million (£5.3m) payment for club-record signing Sala, who, along with pilot David Ibbotson, died when their Piper Malibu aircraft crashed in January. 

Sala had accepted a move but Cardiff claimed the agreement to pay Nantes £15m was not legally binding because conditions insisted upon by the selling club were not fulfilled.

Cardiff announced in a statement last month that they intend to appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but world football governing body FIFA has outlined its reasons and ordered the Welsh side to pay up.

FIFA confirmed in a 21-page document published on Monday that the threat of a ban, which would run through until the end of the 2020-21 campaign, will be lifted if Cardiff make the payment within 45 days.

A new striker in January is a priority at Manchester United and reports suggest a familiar face could make a sensational return to England.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has previously said the club will be doing business after Christmas, with a striker still required following the departures of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez.

Marcus Rashford has scored three goals in his previous two matches, while Anthony Martial marked his return from injury with a goal against Norwich City last Sunday, but a surprising name could provide the answer to United's depth issues up top.

 

TOP STORY – MANCHESTER UNITED MAKE CONTACT WITH IBRAHIMOVIC

Manchester United have made contact with former striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, according to TuttoMercatoWeb.

Ibrahimovic scored 30 goals in MLS for LA Galaxy in 2019, but they were eliminated from the post-season after a 5-3 defeat to cross-town rivals LAFC in the Western Conference semi-finals last weekend.

Interest in the former Barcelona, Inter Milan and Paris Saint-Germain striker has increased since the end of LA Galaxy's season with the Swede still believing he can contribute at the highest level.

The 38-year-old is currently a free agent and scored 29 goals at Old Trafford in a brief spell with the club previously.

ROUND-UP

- One player who may create funds for Manchester United's January business is defender Chris Smalling, but Corriere dello Sport claim the Red Devils want double the €10 million price Roma are expecting to pay for him. 

- AS are reporting Edinson Cavani is weighing up his future at Paris Saint-Germain with Atletico Madrid and Inter Miami keeping tabs on the Uruguayan.

Stefano Sensi is currently on-loan at Inter Milan from Sassuolo, but Sport claim Sensi's agent is in Barcelona as speculation of a move to the Spanish champions grows.

- The Daily Mail claims Wolves will turn to Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes in January as they seek reinforcements to cover the injured Willy Boly.

- Chelsea are interested in signing Hertha Berlin winger Javairo Dilrosun when their transfer ban expires, according to Calciomercato.

- L'Equipe say Nantes are among several clubs showing interest in free agent forward Hatem Ben Arfa.

Wissam Ben Yedder has warned opponents that Monaco are building into their season nicely as they moved into the top half of Ligue 1 for the first time this season with a 1-0 win at Nantes.

The Tunisian striker is the league's top scorer after his ninth goal of the season proved to be the difference in the west of France on Friday night.

It was a fifth consecutive win for Monaco after a winless first six games where they conceded 14 goals, as Leonardo Jardim's men eye improvement after avoiding relegation by two points last season.

Ben Yedder's formidable partnership with Algerian striker Islam Slimani has been one of the reasons for Monaco's upturn and says there are no limits as he strives to get Monaco up the league.

"This is a deserved victory for Monaco but irresistible is a big word," he told reporters.

"I have no limit, I always try and do more and continue to score for the team and for me. I am very satisfied as it's always nice to score.

"We are working and building our game collectively to get good results.

"But the title of top scorer is not the most important thing. Monaco had a hard time last year and early in the season, but we try to come back little by little."

Goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte said the club are still aiming to make a return to next season's Champions League.

"It's games like this that can revive us," he added.

"Psychologically this victory is very good. We will see if it launches our season, but the podium is the goal of our club."

Cardiff City have been told by the FIFA Players' Status Committee to pay Nantes €6million for the late Emiliano Sala.

The striker became Cardiff's record signing when a deal was struck with the Ligue 1 club in January.

But before he made an appearance for City, the plane carrying Sala from France to Wales crashed and he was killed, along with pilot David Ibbotson.

Cardiff claimed the agreement to pay Nantes a £15million fee was not legally binding because conditions insisted upon by Nantes were not fulfilled.

The club, who were relegated from the Premier League at the end of last season, refused to make the first scheduled payment over what chairman Mehmet Dalman identified as "anomalies" in the deal, prompting Nantes to make a complaint to FIFA.

The FIFA Players' Status Committee said on Monday the €6m Nantes should receive from Cardiff is "corresponding to the first instalment due".

A statement read: "The FIFA Players' Status Committee, which never lost sight of the specific and unique circumstances of this tragic situation during its deliberations on the dispute at stake, refrained from imposing procedural costs on the parties.

"The findings of the decision were notified to the parties concerned today."

Nantes president Waldemar Kita told L'Equipe in May he did not want to receive money for Sala.

"The truth is, I don't even want that money, and I may never get it," he said.

"I don't want to make money on someone who died tragically. I'm not interested in that."

When asked why he had therefore not brought the issue to a halt, Kita replied: "I am not involved at all in the case. The lawyers are in charge of it."

Cardiff City have been told by the FIFA Players' Status Committee to pay Nantes €6million for the late Emiliano Sala.

Cardiff City are "concerned" by the results of the latest report from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) into the death of footballer Emiliano Sala.

The striker, along with pilot David Ibbotson, went missing when their plane crashed over the English Channel in January, days after his move to the Premier League club from Nantes was announced.

Sala's body was later recovered from the wreckage, but Ibbotson has not been found.

A report from the AAIB released on Wednesday said Ibbotson was "likely" to have been exposed to carbon monoxide before the crash, while toxicology tests on Sala showed clear signs of exposure to the poisonous gas.

Cardiff say the latest findings show the plane carrying Sala was "not appropriate".

A club spokesperson said: "CCFC is concerned at the AAIB's latest report which once again highlights that the aircraft used for Emiliano Sala was not appropriate.

"We continue to believe that those who were instrumental in arranging its usage are held to account for this tragedy."

The AAIB, meanwhile, has responded to calls from Sala's family to recover the plane's wreckage.

"The reasons for our decision not to recover the aircraft wreckage have been explained in detail to both families concerned," the organisation said in a statement.

"In February our underwater search operation successfully located the wreckage, recovered the passenger's body and captured substantial video evidence from the scene using a remotely operated vehicle. It was not possible at the time to recover the wreckage. 

"We have carefully considered the feasibility and merits of returning to attempt to recover the wreckage. In this case, we consider that it will not add significantly to the investigation and we will identify the correct safety issues through other means. 

"In making our decision, we took into account the high cost of underwater recovery, the evidence we collected in February and the risk that, after a violent impact with the sea, the wreckage would not yield definitive evidence."

Pilot David Ibbotson is "likely" to have been exposed to carbon monoxide before the plane on which he and footballer Emiliano Sala were travelling crashed over the English Channel in January.

A report from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said toxicology tests on Argentinian Sala, whose body was found in the wreckage, showed clear signs of exposure to the poisonous gas.

Search teams have found no sign of Ibbotson, who is presumed dead.

Striker Sala, who was 28, had said goodbye to former Nantes team-mates before travelling to join his new club, Cardiff City, when the Piper Malibu plane crashed north of Guernsey.

He died from head and trunk injuries, an inquest heard in February.

The AAIB said in a statement on Wednesday that its latest findings showed "the danger of exposure to carbon monoxide in both piston and turbine engine aircraft".

"Toxicology tests found that the passenger had a high saturation level of COHb (the combination product of carbon monoxide and haemoglobin)," said the AAIB statement.

"It is considered likely that the pilot would also have been exposed to carbon monoxide.

"When our investigation has concluded, we will publish a final report."

Geraint Herbert, principal inspector of air accidents with the AAIB, explained the impact of carbon monoxide poisoning.

He said: “Carbon monoxide is an odourless and colourless gas.

“Symptoms at low-exposure levels can be drowsiness and dizziness, but as the exposure level increases it can lead to unconsciousness and death.

“Inexpensive carbon monoxide detectors are widely available and can be fitted to aircraft to warn pilots of the presence of carbon monoxide.

“The investigation continues to look into a wide range of areas in relation to this accident but in particular we are looking at the potential ways in which carbon monoxide can enter the cabin in this kind of aircraft.

“We'll be publishing our final report in due course.”

Christian Gourcuff has been appointed as new Nantes head coach, the Ligue 1 club have confirmed.

The former Rennes and Lorient boss heads back to France's top flight after a spell in Qatar with Al-Gharafa.

Like predecessor Vahid Halilhodzic, Gourcuff has also coached the Algeria national team and, in a statement to confirm his appointment, Nantes noted previous attempts to appoint the 64-year-old by referring to "several opportunities missed between the two parties".

"FC Nantes has always represented something for me. In the past, I almost joined the club, but it did not happen," Gourcuff said.

"When president Waldemar Kita called me, it was something I owed him. I'm really happy to sign here."

Nantes finished 12th in Ligue last season and parted company with Halilhodzic last week amid reports of a breakdown in relations between the veteran tactician and Kita.

Police investigating the death of Emiliano Sala have confirmed a man has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter by an unlawful act.

Sala and pilot David Ibbotson died when the plane they were travelling in to Wales, after the 28-year-old striker joined Cardiff City from Nantes, crashed in the English Channel on January 21.

Detective Inspector Simon Huxter, of Dorset Police's major crime investigation team, said in a statement on Wednesday: "We have carried out a wide-ranging investigation into the circumstances of the death of Mr Sala and continue to work with partner agencies including the Civil Aviation Authority.

"As part of this investigation we have to consider whether there is any evidence of any suspected criminality and as a result of our enquiries we have today, Wednesday 19 June 2019, arrested a 64-year-old man from the North Yorkshire area on suspicion of manslaughter by an unlawful act. He is assisting with our enquiries and has been released from custody under investigation.

"This matter therefore is still subject to a live investigation and I would ask the media and members of the public to refrain from speculation, as this could cause additional distress to the families involved as well as potentially hinder the investigation.

"As is standard practice, we will not be releasing any further information as to the identity of the individual who has been arrested unless that person is charged to appear in court and again would discourage any speculation in relation to this."

Police added in a statement that the families of Sala and Ibbotson have been informed.

Emiliano Sala's death was caused by injuries to his head and trunk, it has been confirmed.

Argentine striker Sala was on board a Piper Malibu aircraft that disappeared over the English Channel last month on its way from Nantes to Cardiff, after the 28-year-old had become the Premier League club's record signing.

Last week, a body was recovered from the wreckage of the plane and subsequently identified as that of Sala. Pilot David Ibbotson, the only other person on board, is yet to be found.

During Monday's hearing of the post-mortem examination, Dorset Coroner's Court concluded Sala's passing was caused by injuries to his head and trunk.

There will now be an interim investigation which is expected to be concluded within the next six to 12 months.

 

Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock believes Emiliano Sala's family finally have peace after confirmation that the body recovered from a plane wreckage in the English Channel was that of the striker.

The UK's Air Accidents Investigation Branch confirmed on Wednesday that a body had been passed to the Dorset Coroner, having been recovered with the help of specialist contractors, and it was identified as Sala a day later.

The Piper Malibu aircraft disappeared with Sala and pilot David Ibbotson aboard on January 21, with the 28-year-old en route to Cardiff having completed a club-record transfer from Ligue 1 side Nantes.

Tributes have been paid to the striker from across the world of football since the news broke on Thursday, which has had a warming impact on Warnock, and he is relieved Sala's family finally have some closure.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Warnock said: "While everybody expects the worst when it happens, I got a phone call last night and it was strange.

"It brings the family peace, offers them comfort – that's what Sharon [Warnock's wife] said from the start. I don't know how it's affected the players, one or two have always been a little sensitive.

"When I think I've seen it all in football, our fans keep surprising me every week now. I don't think there's anything that would surprise me with them, and the Arsenal fans, Bournemouth fans, fans from clubs all over.

"When something like this happens it brings all the football family together. It shows that everybody is thinking on the same wavelength and it's a loss to everyone in football.

"When you look at the finances they were able to raise [via crowdfunding] to enable the search in the first place, I found that amazing. The response has been unbelievable.

"That might have surprised everyone. To get that response is just amazing, and I'm sure anybody in the circumstances would have done that. It shows football isn't all bad news, hooliganism and everything else.

"I don't think I have to mention Emiliano [in his pre-Southampton team talk]. The tributes will have an impact. I've asked the Premier League if we can wear shirts with the daffodils and I'm sure they'll allow that.

"I wanted to mention David [Ibbotson, the pilot]. I'm sure his family will be going through hell. Our thoughts are with him and his family."

After Sala's disappearance was first confirmed, Warnock suggested the matter had made him consider his future as a manager, however he says his comments were blown out of proportion.

"I think that was a little bit over the top," he said. "As always, you get certain tabloids creating stories - but I went in the local paper and put that to bed.

"Anybody that saw us play the last couple of games will know we're up for it. It's a challenge we want to face head-on."

Nantes have announced they will retire their number nine jersey after the body recovered from a plane wreckage in the English Channel was confirmed as that of former striker Emiliano Sala.

The UK's Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) confirmed on Wednesday that a body had been passed to the Dorset Coroner, having been recovered with the help of specialist contractors, and it was identified as Sala a day later.

The Piper Malibu aircraft disappeared with Sala and pilot David Ibbotson aboard on January 21, with the 28-year-old en route to Cardiff City having completed a club-record transfer from Ligue 1 side Nantes.

Sala had been a fan favourite at Nantes prior to his transfer, having scored 42 Ligue 1 goals in the last three-and-a-half years, with 12 of those coming in just 19 appearances this season.

Following Thursday's announcement, Nantes president Waldemar Kita confirmed the striker's number nine shirt would be retired as a mark of respect.

"I don't have the words. It's a tragedy, I'm crushed," Kita said. "Emiliano left his mark. 

"That's why, like many fans, I wish to honour him by retiring the number nine."

Kita's comments were part of club statement that expressed the devastation caused by the loss of their former frontman.

It read: "Nantes had the immense sadness on Thursday to learn that the body found was that of Emiliano Sala.

"This news puts an end to interminable and unbearable waiting. Emiliano will forever be one of the legends who has written the great history of Nantes.

"There are difficult mornings, nightmarish awakenings, where unhappily reality hits us. Emi is gone.

"Emiliano Sala arrived on the backs of the Edre in July 2015 and knew how to win the hearts of the Nantes supporters.

"With his work, his desire and his kindness without limits, he finished as the club's top scorer in his three seasons.

"The homages paid to him nationally and internationally match the player and person that he was. Today, we have lost a friend, a talented player and an exemplary team-mate.

"We can't forget in this drama the pilot and his family and have confidence that the authorities will continue their search.

"Nantes, its board, its staff and its players, wish to pass the families of Emiliano Sala and David Ibbotson their deepest condolences. We will never forget you Emi.

"He's an Argentine who never gives up, Emiliano Sala, Emiliano Sala…"

When Cardiff City and Nantes debated over whether Emiliano Sala would be allowed to play one last match for the French club last month, nobody could have anticipated the desperate turn of events that would make such a matter feel so incredibly trivial.

During negotiations between the two clubs, Nantes had reportedly been keen for Sala to feature for them one last time against Angers, but it was Cardiff who eventually got their way and the Argentine striker's club-record move to the Welsh capital was confirmed on the eve of that match.

It was a story typical of the January transfer window – a buying club tenaciously chasing mid-season reinforcements but facing stubbornness from a selling club determined not to be left in the lurch by the loss of one of their key players.

Typical, that is, until a Piper Malibu aircraft transporting Sala to Wales from western France disappeared over the English Channel late on Monday, January 21.

Following a three-day operation covering approximately 1,700 square miles around the Channel Islands, a statement issued by Guernsey Police from harbour master Captain David Barker confirmed active search and rescue efforts had been abandoned after his team had been "unable to find any trace of the aircraft, the pilot or the passenger". At that stage, chances of survival were considered "extremely remote".

As an extensive outpouring of grief and sympathy from across the football community continued, a number of high-profile figures and members of the public answered the Sala family's calls to fund a private search.

That operation located the plane wreckage on the seabed and the body of a victim, which police announced had been identified as that of Sala late on Thursday.

Sala's professional breakthrough came at Proyecto Crecer in his homeland – a youth academy with links to Ligue 1 side Bordeaux, who spotted his talent and brought him to Europe in 2012.

Although his time at Bordeaux demanded patience – Sala only made 11 league appearances for the club over three years – loan periods at Orleans, Niort and Caen gave him a platform to demonstrate his abilities.

Nineteen goals in 37 matches at third-tier Orleans, 18 in 37 league games with Ligue 2 outfit Niort and then five in 13 top-flight appearances with Caen – a period in which he played alongside N'Golo Kante and Thomas Lemar – convinced Nantes to take him to Stade de la Beaujoire on a five-year contract in 2015, paying a reported €1million for his services.

Sala quickly became a regular starter for Nantes and he racked up 42 league goals in three and a half seasons for the club. This term brought 12 from 19 games in Ligue 1, persuading  Cardiff that Sala was the man to fire them away from the Premier League relegation zone.

Tragically, he was never able to put such undoubted talent on display for a club and a competition that now mourns him along with the rest of the global game.

Dorset Police has confirmed the body recovered from a plane wreckage in the English Channel is that of Cardiff City striker Emiliano Sala.

The UK's Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) confirmed on Wednesday that a victim had been passed to the Dorset Coroner, having been recovered with the help of specialist contractors.

The Piper Malibu aircraft disappeared with Sala and pilot David Ibbotson on board on January 21, with the 28-year-old en route to Cardiff having completed a club-record transfer from Ligue 1 side Nantes.

A police statement issued late on Thursday read: "The body brought to Portland Port today, Thursday 7 February 2019, has been formally identified by HM Coroner for Dorset as that of professional footballer Emiliano Sala.

"The families of Mr Sala and the pilot David Ibbotson have been updated with this news and will continue to be supported by specially-trained family liaison officers. Our thoughts remain with them at this difficult time.

"HM Coroner will continue to investigate the circumstances of this death supported by Dorset Police."

An initial search and rescue effort was called off by Guernsey Police after three days on January 24.

Guernsey harbourmaster Captain David Barker called their chances of survival "extremely remote", but a number of high-profile football figures and members of the public answered the family's calls to fund a private search operation.

The plane was located on the seabed off Guernsey on Sunday using a remotely operated vehicle, during which time a body was found amid what remained of the light aircraft.

A recovery operation was then launched following consultation with the families of Sala and Ibbotson, and the police.

The football world came together in grief and to pay its respects as the severity of the Sala story began to unfold, with floral tributes laid outside Cardiff City Stadium and vigils held in Nantes, where 42 goals in three-and-a-half seasons made him a fan favourite.

Following reports of a dispute between the two clubs this week, Cardiff chairman Mehmet Dalman confirmed the Premier League outfit were yet to pay the first instalment of Sala's transfer fee.

"We must show respect to the family. There is a process for recovering the plane," he said, prior to Sala's body being identified.

"[We will pay] when we think it's the right time to do it. I don't think Cardiff said we were not going to pay."

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