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Emiliano Sala - Nantes demanding first instalment of transfer fee

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A large portrait of Emiliano Sala is displayed outside FC Nantes' Stade de la Beaujoire

According to the BBC, Cardiff have withheld the first scheduled payment until they are satisfied with the documentations.

Sala and pilot David Ibbotson were on board the Piper Malibu aircraft that went missing over the English Channel on January 21, carrying the player from Nantes to Cardiff ahead of his planned first training session with the team.

Cardiff are reported to be committed to honouring the deal but not until they have been provided with sufficient documentation.

The plane was only discovered on Sunday and the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) has not identified the body spotted in the wreckage, which was found on the seabed.

Although Nantes were entitled to the first slice of Sala's £15m fee by now, there is a sense of disbelief at Cardiff given the circumstances and the timing.

A legal letter from Nantes was emailed to Cardiff on Tuesday - the second demand in the space of a week - to request urgent payment.

The transfer fee is due to be paid over three years and Nantes want the first payment this month.

The plane carrying Sala, 28, and Ibbotson, from Crowle, Lincolnshire, disappeared on route to Cardiff on 21 January after the footballer returned to Nantes to say goodbye to his former teammates.

Reports of Nantes' demands come amid the discovery of a body aboard the wreckage of the plane.

The families of Sala, Cardiff City's record signing at £15 million, and Ibbotson have been informed of the discovery.

They are also "surprised" the French club have asked for a cut of the transfer fee amid a private-funded search.

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