The Argentine striker died at the age of 28 on January 21, 2019, in a private plane crash off the island of Guernsey. Sala was on his way to join Cardiff City in a €17 million transfer from FC Nantes.
Cardiff City demanded 100 million euros in compensation from Nantes, plus interest from the past four years and 2 million euros in “reputational damage”. In total, the team that just finished 21/24 in the English First Division demanded Nantes pay nearly 110 million euros. Previously, Cardiff had filed a lawsuit in a Swiss court, but it was dismissed. But they decided to follow the case to the end when they continued to apply to the Nantes Commercial Court. The parties will appear in court on June 22.
In the lawsuit, Cardiff blamed Willie McKay, the agent who organized Sala’s deadly flight (in addition, the pilot’s body was not found). Willie McKay’s son, Mark, is the owner of the company Mercato Sports Ltd – the unit that made Sala’s transfer to Cardiff under authorization from FC Nantes. The reason Cardiff City sued Nantes is that he did not supervise the activities of the agent leading to the unfortunate accident.
At the beginning of 2023, Cardiff paid Nantes 9 million euros out of a total of 17 million euros in Sala’s transfer fee. This was the result of the lawsuit after Sala’s death that Nantes was the winner. Currently, Cardiff has countered with a petition asking the team currently ranked 17th in Ligue 1 to pay 110 million euros in compensation.