By Gareth James
Cardiff City can hit the January sales after the EFL lifted their transfer embargo.
The Football League acted after the club paid the first installment of the £15 million transfer fee for Emiliano Sala to Nantes.
Sala, who died in a plane crash in 2019 while traveling from Nantes to Cardiff during the January transfer window, has been at the centre of a four-year dispute between the two clubs.
Cardiff had refused to pay the first installment of the agreed fee – a sum of £5.3m – arguing that Sala was not officially registered as their player and therefore they were not obligated to pay any part of the transfer fee.
However, FIFA ruled that the Bluebirds must pay Nantes and this decision was upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in September 2022.
As a result, the EFL imposed a three-window transfer embargo on Cardiff, which began in this current January transfer window.
Cardiff City making offers when the embargo’s lifted pic.twitter.com/6GqIbO1Fbj
— The Canton End 🏴 (@TheCantonEnd) January 11, 2023
With the payment of the first installment of £7 million to Nantes – a figure that includes interest – the EFL have now lifted the embargo.
Cardiff are currently two places and two points above the Championship’s relegation zone, and they are the lowest scorers in the division.
Despite the CAS decision being made, Cardiff continue to dispute the money owed and have further appealed the decision to a Swiss Federal Court.
Only last month, Cardiff chairman Mehmet Dalman claimed Cardiff were not going to pay up unless certain conditions were met.
“We haven’t paid it and at this stage have no intention of paying it, until certain negotiations come to fruition,” he said.
Emiliano Sala lost his life after joining @CardiffCityFC from Nantes for £15m. After four years of trying to wriggle out of paying a penny rather than accept any moral obligation, they have now paid some money. A grubby business. https://t.co/Yf5dEbuCPI
— Peter Jackson (@JackoRugby) January 11, 2023
Cardiff manager Mark Hudson had been told by Dalman to get his transfer targets in place, but it remains to be seen whether the rookie boss will be given a meaningful transfer budget.
Hudson said last week, “We have got targets and if it doesn’t happen we’ll continue to work with the group we’ve got. It’s a long month.”
Cardiff face Wigan at home in the Championship on Saturday, before a midweek FA Cup third round replay at Leeds United on Wednesday.