CARDIFF CITY have hit Nantes with a sensational £80million compensation case, claiming the death of Emiliano Sala cost them relegation from the money-spinning Premier League.
The Bluebirds have quantified the cost of relegation from the top flight at £80m in TV rights, advertising and sponsorship, according to a new book published today “The Truth — The Killing of Emiliano Sala”.
The Championship club slapped in their claim during the recent Court of Arbitration for Sport appeal hearing into whether they should pay Nantes the £15m transfer fee.
Sheffield United then argued they should have been deducted points instead of a record fine — and that the Blades should not have been relegated.
The Yorkshire club settled for £26.5m. But, including around £20m in parachute payments, Cardiff’s claim amounts to £80m.
Ironically, Neil Warnock was the manager 15 years ago when Sheffield United were relegated, although he quit Cardiff just before they went down in 2019.
Cardiff hold the French club responsible for Sala’s death because agent Willie McKay acted on their behalf and organised the plane for Sala that crashed into the English Channel more than three years ago.
Warnock was convinced just a few goals from Sala would have been sufficient to have kept them up — and that they could not have bought an alternative striker as the window had shut by the time of the tragedy.
Cardiff always maintained the Prem deemed the contract “illegal” based on the structure of upfront signing-on payments, which Nantes had insisted upon, and which the Welsh club had warned them would not pass scrutiny.
Argentine Sala was not eligible to play in the Premier League at the time he boarded the flight.
Cardiff asked CAS to adjudicate, in the same way that the Tevez case ended up with a tribunal rather than — as first threatened — the civil High Court.
Nantes vehemently objected to CAS making any such ruling, with Cardiff suggesting offsetting any award on the £15m transfer fee against the £80m compensation claim.
The precedent, on which Cardiff are basing their claims, goes back to 2007 when Sheffield United sued West Ham over the cost of relegation.
The Blades, and several other Prem clubs, believed the Hammers should have been deducted points for breaking rules on third-party ownership over their two Argentinian signings, Tevez and Javier Mascherano.
Instead, West Ham were fined a record £5.5m.
Cardiff believe they have a powerful case and a chance of success — most likely in the French courts — if they fail to get what they believe to be justice from the CAS hearing.
l THE TRUTH — THE KILLING OF EMILIANO SALA — The full Shocking Story by Harry Harris, OUT NOW, proceeds to the Emiliano Sala Memorial Fund. Price £11.95