By Gareth James
Cardiff City chairman Mehmet Dalman has urged people not to forget the “human side” of the Emiliano Sala dispute – whilst continuing to argue the club are right not to pay up.
The club have been placed under a transfer embargo after failing to pay the first instalment of the fee owed to Ligue 1 club Nantes for Sala.
Sala died in a plane crash in the English Channel as he travelled to Cardiff after signing for the club in £15 million deal in January 2019. The pilot of the flight, David Ibbotson, also died.
Cardiff appealed against a FIFA decision ordering them to pay the first instalment of his transfer fee, which amounted to £5.3m.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled in August that Cardiff had to pay Nantes the first instalment. The club appealed the CAS decision to a Swiss Federal Court, with a verdict expected next year.
The Bluebirds say they are also talking to the English Football League and football’s global body FIFA to resolve the issue.
Mehmat Dalman “I don’t know Mark Hudson dreadfully well”….
That’s a direct quote from the Chairman about the manager of a football club he leads.
Cardiff City under transfer embargo over Emiliano Sala fee – BBC Sport https://t.co/ftLOByv7dG
— Paul Gronow (@bluebirdblogger) December 17, 2022
Dalman claims he is confident they would be able to lift the embargo before the transfer window reopens in January.
“I wish I had the power to lift the shadow of this situation from the club. People at this club want this resolved,” Dalman told the BBC.
“People should not forget that a … man was killed when there was no need for that accident to happen. There is a human side to this story, it is not just a financial one.”
Dalman said there were “lots of legal discussions” going on and that the club had received their first invoice from Nantes.
“We haven’t paid it and at this stage have no intention of paying it until certain negotiations come to fruition,” he said.
“This puts the EFL in a position where they automatically put us under transfer embargo, but until January that is pretty meaningless anyway.
“Until January I am sure there will be other developments. We are working hard to ensure we can do business then.”
Cardiff are 20th in the Championship after 23 games. Following Saturday’s 1-1 draw at home to Blackpool.
Cardiff City 1-1 Blackpool
Frustrating afternoon for City (feel like i’ve said that a lot this season) who couldn’t convert their dominance for much of the game into three points. Typical that it would be Gary Madine to secure an important point for Blackpool. pic.twitter.com/vPz2sNWzOS
— Matt Chedgzoy (@matt_dyfan) December 17, 2022
Striker Gary Madine returned to haunt his former club with a second-half equaliser that secured a point for Blackpool.
Madine, who failed to find the net in 28 games for the Bluebirds across three seasons after joining from Bolton for £6million in 2017, scored with a deflected header in the 67th minute.
Cardiff had led through a 36th-minute Kion Etete strike and will be deeply frustrated at letting slip a victory which for much of the contest looked comfortably in their grasp.
Afterwards, Cardiff manager Mark Hudson accused Madine of a pre-meditated stamp on Cardiff defender Perry Ng.
Madine, a £6million signing for the Bluebirds from Bolton in 2017 clashed with Ng in the 51st minute.
Referee Josh Smith showed only a yellow card, but Hudson claimed Madine had warned of his intentions to Ng during the half-time interval.
Gary Madine said at half time he was going to “go out and do Perry” in the second half, according to Mark Hudson.
— Glen Williams (@GlenWilliams12) December 17, 2022
Hudson said: “It’s pre-meditated, he (Madine) said it at half-time that he was going to go out and do Perry.
“We warned the ref that he had said out loud he was going to go out and do that. They were aware of it, and it was clear as day. It was a stamp.
“There was a coming together between them in the first half and he (Madine) has gone out and done exactly what he said he was going to do. It is a leg-breaker.
“If his leg had been planted on the floor then it’s snapping his leg. I’ve watched it from four or five different angles, but you don’t need to see it from different angles. You could see it live.”
The draw leaves Cardiff just two points above the relegation zone and Hudson added: “When you play that well in the first half and have that many clear-cut opportunities, we should have taken the game away from them.
“We should have had a penalty in the first half. Robbo (Callum Robinson) gets booked for simulation, which is baffling, I think, but we had clear-cut opportunities to take the game away from them.
“It’s disappointing, we could have been comfortable and opened up more opportunities because they are chasing the game. We have just got to know the importance of putting the ball in the net with the opportunities we are creating.”