Emiliano Sala: Cardiff to honour missing footballer with daffodils in Arsenal match
Cardiff City's staff and fans will wear yellow daffodils in Tuesday's Premier League fixture at Arsenal to honour missing striker Emiliano Sala, says chief executive Ken Choo.
The plane carrying Argentine Sala, 28, disappeared on Monday near Guernsey and a three-day search of the English Channel was called off on Thursday.
Choo added that manager Neil Warnock is "quite distressed" by the situation.
Warnock took some time off on Friday to spend with his family.
Despite saying the club "have not given up hope" of finding record signing Sala alive, Choo says the Bluebirds' priority is to provide support to Sala's family.
Sala's sister Romina is already in Cardiff and the forward's mother and brother are expected to arrive in south Wales in the coming days.
"We still hope that the search mission can continue and we can locate Emiliano," Choo said on Friday.
"The news that the search has been called off yesterday, it is right for the staff and all of us to lay some flowers and do some prayers for his safe return.
"The mood in the club is really sombre - at the training ground as well, it is pretty flat and there is not much activity."
Romina Sala said on Friday that she believes her brother is still alive.
Speaking through an interpreter, she said: "We know Emiliano and the pilot are still alive. We want to go and search for them."
The Air Accident Investigation Branch said it had launched a probe which will look at "all operational aspects" including licensing and flight plans.
The Piper PA-46 Malibu disappeared on Monday with Cardiff's new signing and pilot Dave Ibbotson on board.
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Flowers to pay respects
Choo confirmed the plans to wear flowers on Tuesday, adding that there could be further tributes at Cardiff's next home game against Bournemouth on Saturday, 2 February. Captains of both teams will place a floral tribute before kick-off.
"At this point in time we haven't finalised everything, but we will be wearing yellow daffodils on behalf of the club (against Arsenal)," Choo said.
"It is a yellow flower, the flower of Wales and has significance to Nantes. We feel for FC Nantes, their fans and players. They definitely know Emiliano better than we do and it is tougher for them, at this point in time."
Choo says he expects the trip to Arsenal to be difficult for Cardiff's players.
"I could say it's still far from normality at this point and I don't expect the players to be laughing and smiling and hoping and cheering," he explained.
"At this point in time, things are looking sombre and they have a lot of respect for their team-mates and they know how I feel and the wider club.
"So it will take time for a wound to heal and I think we just have to take its natural course."
'A tragedy, not a script'
Choo reiterated that Cardiff were not involved in arranging the plane.
"The club didn't make the arrangements, at the time the arrangements were made we did not have jurisdiction over the player," Choo said.
"The club did offer arrangements to be made at that point in time. We all have hindsight, but this is just an accident and we have to bear with that.
"This is a tragedy, it is not a script."
Choo says Sala's family will be invited to the Arsenal game and the Bluebirds' next home match.
"We are taking this day by day because it is not something we can plan. We just have to go with what the family wishes to do next and try and hold their hand every step of the way," he said.
"At the moment we have given them a plan on where we see things are moving and we have invited them to the Arsenal game which they will be attending privately.
"We have extended the invitation to the next home game. They are as much our family as they are his."
Warnock 'distressed' as Premier League stand firm
Cardiff have had a request to conduct transfer dealings after the window closes on 31 January rejected.
The club asked the Premier League for "special dispensation" due to the situation with Sala and are understood to have also asked for them to relax the rule that means clubs can loan a maximum of two players from the top flight.
"We did ask them (Premier League) for some assistance and the rule applies to everybody and we understand that and they made it very clear," Choo said.
"So we just have six or seven days before the window closes and we have to work within that timeframe."
Choo also told reporters that the week has taken a toll on manager Warnock.
"He is quite distressed about the situation," he said.
"It's tough. He is taking the afternoon off. Usually he doesn't but after lunch he just needs a break.
"We just have to give him some time with his family as well."