ZURICH: Cardiff City have decided to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against the FIFA decision that they should pay Nantes a €6m first instalment due over the transfer of Emiliano Sala.

The Argentinian footballer died in a plane crash in the Channel on January 21 before he could play for the Welsh club. He died in the plane along with the pilot David Ibbotson.

The players’ status committee of football’s world governing body, said Cardiff must pay French club Nantes €6m “corresponding to the first instalment due in accordance with the transfer agreement”. The total fee agreed was £15m.

Cardiff argued that Sala, 28, was not officially their player when he died and that therefore they were not liable for any of the fee because the contract had been ejected by the Premier League for breaking signing-on fee rules.

A players’ status committee statement said it had “never lost sight of the specific and unique circumstances of this tragic situation during its deliberations on the dispute at stake”.

The body of the pilot has never been found. Air accident investigators said the men had been exposed to harmful levels of carbon monoxide inside the cockpit before the plane crashed.

Last month, a man and a woman were jailed for illegally accessing footage of Sala’s post-mortem  examination.