Emiliano Sala: Lot of work to be done, says Cardiff chairman Mehmet Dalman

Sala posing with a Cardiff City shirt on 20 January
Sala had been flying to join his new team, Cardiff City, when the plane carrying him crashed

Cardiff City chairman Mehmet Dalman says there is still “a lot of work to be done” in the Emiliano Sala case, two years after the footballer’s death.

Argentine striker Sala, who was 28, died in a plane crash in January 2019 while travelling from Nantes, France, to join Cardiff in a £15m transfer.

Last week, Sala’s family called for an inquest date to be set.

“I think it’s appalling that two years on, nobody really wants to know,” said Dalman.

“We have approached every single body that we can. We approached Fifa, we got absolutely nowhere, we approached the FA, the Premier League, the French league, the French police, the English police and I can’t seriously look you in the eye today and say we are a lot further along than we were two years ago. It is hard work.

“There is a lot of work to be done.

“I have written to all these bodies and asked for help in getting over this hurdle. We are getting nowhere and there seems to be a lack of seeing the full picture.

“The way we are set up in the game of football, no one is actually looking at the bigger picture. No one is looking at the contractual obligation of each one.

“Therefore we are hitting huge brick walls.”

Since Sala’s death, French club Nantes and Cardiff have been in dispute over fee payments.

Following last week’s call from Sala’s family for an inquest date to be set, Cardiff offered their “deepest sympathy” to the families of the 28-year-old and pilot David Ibbotson, 59, who was flying the plane when it crashed in the English Channel on 21 January, 2019.

Cardiff also said in a statement: “The club endorses the call by the Sala family for the inquest to begin as soon as possible after the conclusion of David Henderson’s trial.”

In March 2020, coroners had initially said that a full inquest into the deaths of both men would not take place until at least March 2021.

That first delay was due to an ongoing Civil Aviation Authority investigation into the crash, but any inquest must now wait until the conclusion of a criminal court case stemming from the tragedy.

David Henderson has been charged with endangering the safety of an aircraft and attempting to discharge a passenger without valid permission or authorisation, charges which he denies. Mr Henderson is alleged to have arranged the flight.

In January 2020, Cardiff announced they would set up a trust in Sala’s name to support his family and fund footballing projects in his memory.

It was intended that the trust, launched in conjunction with the Sala family’s lawyers, would see Cardiff donate money to support the family and grassroots football projects in his memory.

But the fund, which would be controlled by independent trustees, has yet to be formally launched.

“To give you a bit more encouragement we are not very far away from the trust being set up, finally, we are literally weeks away,” said Dalman.

“Our objective is we will put in the initial seed capital and then will go out and raise money to contribute to the cause of the Sala trust.

“We know the case is continuing and the police are taking it seriously.

“There is obviously the inquest going on here. It will be interesting to see how things develop.

“So it’s complicated and a lot of work.

“If at the end of the day the ruling body says we have to pay, we will accept the judgement 100%.

“But we will fight every corner until we get the true picture of what really happened.”

BBC News