Four years after the plane crash that killed soccer player Emiliano Sala, Welsh club Cardiff City is seeking about USD 120 million in compensation from the player's former team. (More Football News)
Cardiff's chairman Mehmet Dalman said on Tuesday that legal papers had been served in its pursuit of "justice" against French club Nantes, despite a series of previous legal setbacks for the Welsh club.
Rulings by FIFA, the Court of Arbitration for Sport and Switzerland's supreme court have gone against Cardiff in its legal dispute with Nantes since Sala died in January 2019.
The 28-year-old Sala was signed by Cardiff from Nantes for a club record fee of 17 million euros (USD 18.5 million) as it tried to stave off relegation from the lucrative Premier League.
But the single-engine plane the Argentine player was travelling in from France to begin his career with Cardiff crashed into the sea near the Channel Island of Guernsey. The pilot also died.
Cardiff's civil action is set to be heard in a commercial court in Nantes next month, French media reported.
Cardiff is claiming 110 million euros (USD 119.5 million). The club previously said it wanted to "recover what the club paid for Emiliano and additional damages for further consequential losses."
After the crash, Cardiff disputed that the transfer deal with Nantes had been finalised. FIFA ruled it had received the required international registration forms.
Cardiff was relegated from the Premier League at the end of the 2018-19 season and has since played in the second-tier Championship. The club reported an annual loss of 29 million pounds (USD 36 million) in its most recent accounts.
"Our lawyers came up with the number," Dalman told TalkSPORT radio station of the compensation claim.
"It's not a number that we picked from the air."
Cardiff promised further legal action when CAS judges last year dismissed the club's appeal against the FIFA ruling to pay the first transfer installment of 6 million euros (USD 6.5 million).
Dalman explained Cardiff's position on Tuesday.
"We bought a young man in the prime of his career, in good faith," he added. "Somebody, without our knowledge, put him in an unfit aeroplane and flew him in a dangerous time of the day, or at night in this case and unfortunately, the two people died of it."
"Why is it that it's Cardiff that has to then write a check out for as much as that? Cardiff is not a wealthy club. It can't afford this."
Nantes has not publicly commented on the latest legal case. After the CAS verdict last August, the French club said it had not reacted to the years-long dispute out of respect for the player and his family.
Cardiff has said it is financially supporting Sala's family members.