The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has dismissed the appeal filed by Cardiff City Football Club (Cardiff City FC) against Football Club de Nantes (FC Nantes) in relation to the decision issued by the Bureau of the FIFA Players’ Status Committee on September 25, 2019 (the Challenged Decision). The Challenged Decision, in which Cardiff City FC was ordered to pay EUR 6 million to FC Nantes in connection with the transfer of the player Emiliano Sala between the clubs, is confirmed.
Cardiff City FC filed an appeal at the CAS on 20 November 2019. Further to the initiation of the arbitration, the written proceedings were lengthy and were even suspended, at the parties’ request, and with their mutual agreement, for several months. In addition, on multiple occasions, the parties mutually agreed to extend the time limits for the filing of their written submissions. The parties also requested that the hearing be held in person, which it was not possible to do before the end of 2021. The hearing finally took place on March 3/4, 2022. It was the first hearing to be held at the new CAS headquarters at the Palais de Beaulieu in Lausanne.
After taking into due consideration all the evidence produced and all the arguments put forward by both clubs, the CAS Panel found the Player’s transfer from FC Nantes to Cardiff City FC to have been completed; and because the conditions set out in the Transfer Agreement were fulfilled prior to the Player’s death, FC Nantes’ claim for the first instalment of the transfer fee in the amount of EUR 6 million was upheld.
The CAS proceedings only concern the first instalment of the transfer fee in the amount of EUR 6 million out of the total transfer fee of EUR 17 million. The other instalments were not due at the time of the procedure before the FIFA instances. The CAS Panel also confirmed that it was not for FIFA to entertain the claim of Cardiff City that it was not required to pay any transfer fee to FC Nantes, because FC Nantes could be liable for the Player’s death and that such tort claim was to be set off against any payment obligation with respect to the transfer fee.
The 78-page Arbitral Award is currently subject to a confidentiality review. According to the outcome of such review, the Arbitral Award may be published on the CAS website at a later date.