Tributes paid on anniversary of Sala death

Fans will remember former Nantes striker Emiliano Sala who died in a plane crash one year ago.
Fans will remember former Nantes striker Emiliano Sala who died in a plane crash one year ago.

Cardiff City Football Club have expressed their sympathy to the family and friends of Emiliano Sala on the one year anniversary of the striker's death.

The Argentinian forward died on January 21, 2019 when the plane carrying him from Nantes in France to his new club Cardiff crashed in the English Channel near Guernsey.

The footballer's body was recovered from the wreckage, but pilot David Ibbotson has still not been found.

"All of our thoughts are with the family and friends of Emiliano Sala and (pilot) David Ibbotson," said a Cardiff club statement on behalf of the owner Vincent Tan and the board.

"The pain they have been through over the last 12 months must be indescribable."

Sala's family will mark the anniversary of the striker's death in "private, quiet contemplation of their loss", their British lawyer Daniel Machover said in a statement.

"The family's primary concern remains for the full inquest to take place as soon as possible, so that they can finally learn the truth about what happened and ensure that no family has to suffer a similar preventable loss of a loved one.

Sala's father Horacio died three months after his son, suffering a heart attack at his home in Argentina.

But he said before his death that all parties involved in the transfer - including clubs and agents - should have made more effort to look after the welfare of his son.

Cardiff - who were in the Premier League at the time - and Ligue 1 club Nantes have since been in dispute over fee payments.

The Bluebirds are not holding an official vigil to mark the anniversary of Sala's death, but have said fans are welcome to lay tributes at the Fred Keenor statue outside Cardiff City Stadium throughout the day.

Nantes - for whom Sala scored 42 goals in 120 league games during three-and-a-half years at the club - will wear a special commemorative shirt in their home game against Bordeaux on Sunday.

"Because he dreamed of the Albiceleste (Argentina national team), the players will swap their yellow shirt for one inspired by his home country," Nantes said on their official club website.

"All the proceeds from sales of this shirt will be allocated to the two Argentinian clubs (Club San Martin de Progreso and Proyecto Crecer) where Emiliano began his career."

Nantes, who have already retired Sala's number nine shirt, will unveil a canvas of him in the centre-circle before kick-off against Bordeaux, another of his former clubs, while a special fan banner and a minute's applause is also planned.

Australian Associated Press