Cardiff City may be set to file a negligence claim against Nantes this week if an enquiry proves that the pilot who had flown Emiliano Sala’s plane prior to their deaths did not possess the correct licence.
The Bluebirds had been given a deadline of the end of last week to pay the first instalment of the £15m transfer fee for Sala to the Ligue 1 club, whilst Sala’s funeral took place on Saturday in his hometown of Progreso in Argentina.
Cardiff manager Neil Warnock was in attendance but, according to the Telegraph, senior figures at the Premier League club are now preparing for developments in the ongoing legal row over Sala’s transfer from Nantes.
It is said that the Bluebirds have opted to freeze all payments as they await further information regarding the events which caused Sala’s death and whether anyone may be held liable for the accident.
The Air Accidents Investigations Bureau are apparently set to release an initial report on the crash, which took place on 21 January, within a month of the incident – meaning that Cardiff could be provided with some answers within the next week.
Cardiff have also reportedly held their own investigation which has provided suggestions that pilot Dave Ibbotson did not hold the required licence to fly a plane carrying passengers in commercial terms.
Should the AAIB report prove that Ibbotson did not hold the necessary qualifications, senior figures apparently believe that would conform to negligence from whoever was responsible for hiring Ibbotson to pilot Sala’s plane.
Having admitted to arranging Sala’s flight, albeit not having selected either the plane or pilot, that accountability could also involve Willie and Mark McKay, who had been working for Nantes.
The French side have threatened Cardiff with potential legal action over the Premier League club’s withholding of the transfer fee owed for Sala’s transfer, though a successful negligence claim against Nantes could significantly reduce the figure owed.
Cardiff may seek to lower the amount even further on the grounds that the change of ownership of Sala was not complete at the time of the Argentine’s death, with the forward yet to be registered as a Premier League player.
Chairman Mehmet Dalman said on the case: “We believe that the player was not registered with the Premier League.”
The Telegraph also suggest that a four-man committee led Cardiff’s signing of Sala, with a deciding vote ending 3-1 in favour of bringing the Argentine to the Premier League.
Dalman added: “I really don’t think it is appropriate for me to comment at this stage but your line of enquiry is not necessarily wrong!”