Emiliano Sala plane crash investigation to take up to a year – but Cardiff City WILL have to pay for tragic star, legal experts say

Sala's body was pulled from the wreckage last week after the plane came down near Alderney on January 21.

It has been suggested by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch that investigations of this sort can take 12 months.

Cardiff had indicated they would await the outcome of the official probe, after agreeing a £15m fee for the player.

But the The Daily Mail reports legal experts say they have no grounds to delay the first part of the payment.

James Earl, a partner at legal firm Fladgate LLP, told the newspaper the transfer contract would have involved Cardiff committing to pay the fee, regardless of the tragic crash.

He added that Cardiff could negotiate down the fee if Nantes is found to have any culpability – but this is thought unlikely.

He said: "If they had entered into an agreement with the company who own or lease the plane, then yes they could.

"But they did not do so and would struggle to prove that a duty of care was owed to them."

Last week we told how the Premier League club received a legal letter insisting that they cough up the first instalment of the club record fee or they face being taken to court.


An inquest opened and adjourned into his death in Dorset heard how a post-mortem confirmed Sala died from "head and trunk" injuries.

The hearing was told he had to be identified using his fingerprints after investigators discovered his body on the seabed of the English Channel on February 4.

The inquest was adjourned until November 6 for a pre-inquest review.

A full report by the Air Accident Investigation Branch will not be published for six to 12 months, but an interim report is due within a fortnight.

Brit pilot David Ibbotson's body has not yet been discovered with a GoFundMe page launched to help fund a private search – which has now soared to over £172,000.

His family were given a huge boost by Kylian Mbappe, who donated £27,000 while Gary Lineker handed over £1,000.

An official search for the downed plane was called off on January 24 but more than £300,000 was raised by footie stars including Lionel Messi to help fund a private search.


The plane was carrying Cardiff City’s £15million record signing Sala, 28, to the Welsh capital from former club Nantes, in Western France, when it vanished on January 21.

Within a few hours search vessel FBV Morven picked up a signal and a remote-controlled submarine fitted with a camera was sent down to formally identify the wreckage.

The AAIB said on January 30 two seat cushions believed to be from the plane were found off Normandy.

The wreckage was discovered by the AAIB on February 3 and robots subs were used to pull the body out of the 220ft-deep water "in as dignified a way as possible".

A statement from the Sala family said: "It is with infinite sadness that we confirm the identity of Emiliano's body.

"We would like to thank you for all your signs of affection and support in what is the most painful time of our lives.

"Seeing the whole world mobilised to support us in our research has been an infinitely precious help. Thanks to you, we are now able to mourn our son, our brother."



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