Emiliano Sala’s former football club Nantes have demanded the footballer’s £15 million transfer fee from Cardiff City.
The 28-year-old was flying on a plane with pilot David Ibbotson on January 21 when it vanished near Guernsey. The wreckage was discovered in the English Channel on February 3, with one body visible on the camera used to explore the site.
The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) have not yet been able to bring the body to the surface.
According to The Independent, AAIB spokesman John Hotson explained:
We are attempting to recover the body. If we are successful, we will consider the feasibility of recovering the aircraft wreckage.
Strong tidal conditions mean we can only use the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) for limited periods each day and this will mean that progress is slow.
Regardless of the results, we will not be making a further statement until the families have been informed.
Sala signed to Cardiff City in January and said goodbye to his former teammates in Nantes, western France, before boarding the Piper Malibu N264DB plane which was heading to Cardiff.
Although circumstances surrounding the plane’s crash are still being investigated, Nantes has demanded the Welsh team pay the agreed £15 million for the signing.
The BBC reports the transfer fee is due to be paid in instalments over three years, but the Premier League team are withholding payments until they are satisfied with the documentation regarding Sala’s disappearance.
Nantes are reportedly threatening legal action if the first payment has not been made within 10 days. A source from the Cardiff football club explained to the BBC the team will honour the contract, but not until they have clarified ‘all the facts’.
The Welsh club have also expressed their ‘surprise’ at how Nantes demanded the money while attempts are being made to recover the body from the plane wreckage.
The AAIB will try to move the body to the surface before attempting to bring the plane up from where it lies over 60 metres deep in the water.
Air accident investigators say body visible in wreckage of plane that went missing carrying Emiliano Sala & pilot David Ibbotson.
Pic of wreckage released by Air Accident Investigation Branch pic.twitter.com/iq2QsNAqIp
— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) February 4, 2019
If the recovery of the wreckage is successful, it will be moved to the AAIB’s base at Farnborough in Hampshire, where investigators would study the remains of the plane in an attempt to figure out what caused it to crash.
According to the BBC an interim report is due to be published in just over two weeks.
Our thoughts are with the families of Emiliano Sala and David Ibbotson at this difficult time.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.