Emiliano Sala: Cardiff City & Nantes mark anniversary of striker's death

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Heartfelt tributes have been paid to footballer Emiliano Sala on the anniversary of his death

Cardiff City fans paid tribute to Emiliano Sala on the first anniversary of the plane crash in which the Argentine striker died.

Sala was flying to Cardiff from Nantes when the plane he was on crashed into the English Channel on 21 January 2019.

Bluebirds fans laid flowers around the Fred Keenor statue outside Cardiff City Stadium.

Nantes are planning a commemorative shirt to raise funds for the Argentine clubs the 28-year-old played for.

The French Ligue 1 side will wear the shirt when they face Bordeaux at the weekend, and proceeds from sales of the jersey will go to the Club San Martin de Progreso and Proyecto Crecer.

As well as floral tributes, a public service was held for Sala and pilot David Ibbotson at St David's Metropolitan Cathedral in Cardiff on Tuesday.

Sala's body was recovered from the plane wreckage in early February, but 59-year-old Ibbotson, from Crowle, North Lincolnshire, has still not been found.

Cardiff and Nantes remain in dispute over the transfer fee for Sala.

The Welsh club had refused to pay any of the fee, claiming the agreement was not legally binding as Sala was not officially their player when he died.

But in September, world governing body Fifa ruled the club should pay the first instalment of £5.3m (6m euros) to Nantes.

Cardiff have challenged the ruling and a Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing in Lausanne is expected in the spring, with a judgement due to follow in June.

'It's still fresh in everyone's minds'

Bluebirds manager Neil Harris was an observer when Sala's death stunned the sporting world.

"It was tragic for everyone, first and foremost his family and his friends and then everyone in the football industry," said Neil Warnock's successor.

"It's in moments like that when everyone pulls together, you really feel for a lad who was following his dream of playing in English football.

"Speaking to people at the club, I've got an understanding of how difficult it was for everyone, from outside looking in I could see the sorrow in everyone.

"You can't comprehend it, moving on it's still fresh in everyone's minds, football is important but you have to think of people's families and think about them at this time."

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