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Search Operation for Cardiff City Footballer Emiliano Sala Resumes

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Football fans across the world are praying for Cardiff City footballer Emiliano Sala, hoping that he survived after his aircraft went missing over the English Channel. Search for the plane carrying Sala and his pilot has reportedly resumed.

On Monday night, the EPI striker’s aircraft — Piper PA-46 Malibu, a single-turbine engine aircraft — disappeared off Alderney in the Channel Islands. He had reportedly sent voicemail messages to his friends and father, saying that he was “scared” as his plane was about to crash.

In a transcription of the call to his father, Sala reportedly said, “I’m here on a plane that looks like it’s about to fall apart, and I’m going to Cardiff … If in an hour and a half you have no news from me, I don’t know if they are going to send someone to look for me because they cannot find me, but you know … Dad, how scared am I!”

The Argentinean was flying to Wales from the French city Nantes, after signing for Cardiff City at a club record fee of £13 million.

At 5pm on Tuesday, the search and rescue operation was suspended for the day, where the Channel Islands, the UK and France were also assisting. Five aircraft and two lifeboats continued hunting more than 1,155 square miles of the Channel the same day.

The Guernsey police said that after scouring for 15-hours, the rescue teams saw “a number of floating objects” in the water. However, they were “unable to confirm whether any of these are from the missing aircraft”.

In a statement on Tuesday afternoon, Guernsey police had said that the chances of finding Sala alive were “slim”, if the aircraft landed on water.

The official Twitter account of Guernsey police stated, “We have found no signs of those onboard. If they did land on the water, the chances of survival are at this stage, unfortunately, slim.”

The police also informed that the Piper Malibu that was flying at an altitude of 5,000 ft (1,500 metres), departed Nantes at 7.15 p.m. for the Welsh capital. As the aircraft passed Guernsey, it “requested descent”. However, the Jersey air traffic control (ATC) lost contact with the plane, while it was flying at 2,300 ft.

The Cardiff City executive director, Ken Choo expressed his shock and distress over the news, and said that Sala was “so ready to start” with them.

The 28-year-old was going back to Wales after bidding goodbye to his Nantes teammates on Monday night. His father, Horacio broke down in tears, saying he was desperate for news. He described his son as a “small town humble boy”, adding, “I just can’t believe it.”

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What’s Magnetizing Saudi to Bid for Manchester United Time and Again?

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Saudi Arabia bids to buy Manchester United, premier league

Rumours about Saudi’s bid of taking over the Premier League Club, Manchester United, keep coming out in the media. Recently, it was reported that Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) offered £3.8bn takeover bid of the club.

However, in a statement on Monday the nation dismissed its plans of taking over the club. The news is “completely untrue,” Saudi information minister Turki Alshabanah wrote on Twitter.

According to the sources, “The club held a meeting with the Public Investment Fund to discuss an advertising sponsorship project, and the Fund listened to the proposals as any investment and did not produce any results,” Turki Alshabanah said.

Despite that it cannot be said for how long can Saudi stick by its guns. Even back in October last year, the Kingdom made an offer to acquire the club, but could not capitalize on the opportunity following the claims of murdering Saudi Journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.

The Need of the Hour

Managing image in the West has been the Kingdom’s topmost priority for a very long time. Even as recently as last week the Journal reported that the nation’s collaboration with the Western media was exposed hoaxing MbS’ reform.

The Crown Prince had reportedly signed a deal with Vice Media, under which the media house was directed to produce documentaries and influence the Western nations.

Manchester United has bagged the coveted Premier League Trophy 13 times, more than any other club in the history, and maybe this is what brings the Saudis to the table. The club is currently owned by Glazer family, who purchased it in 2005 for £790million.

Besides, Saudi’s close aide and long-time ally, UAE, has successfully been spreading their message of positivity all over the world using football as a tool.

This is especially the case because the City’s owner, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan, belongs to the royal family of Abu Dhabi. Together with Khaldoon al-Mubark, his youthful executive and advisor to royal family, he holds the key to delegate how the management works.

In fact, UAE doesn’t stop here, the Emirate has found its own City Football Group (CFG) and it owns or co-owns six clubs across four continents. The group, as reported by the Guardian, has contracted more than 240 male professionals, and two dozen women.

The UAE’s bridge to the West is exactly what the Kingdom aims at replicating by trying to reach Manchester United. Therefore, the probability of owning the club to promote the national image is still on the cards for them.

Conversely, Saudi-UAE have raged a war against humanity in Yemen, killing more than 10,000 people. Both nations have also continuously faced the heat over the detention of human right activists, and for barring people to express what’s right. However, big strides in the West aimed at fixing and building reputation is what the two gulf nations have continuously worked on.

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Cardiff City Defends Withholding Sala’s Transfer Fee

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Chairman of Cardiff City, Mehmet Dalman, has said that his club will be “honourable” with Nantes over the £15m transfer for Emiliano Sala and has defended withholding the payment. The statement follows the allegations that Cardiff was shocked after the latter demanded the first installment of Emiliano Sala’s transfer fee.

Dalman confirmed that the French were actually calling for the legal action, but Cardiff were seeking “clarification”. Sala’s body was recovered from the wreckage last week, as the greatest fear of the footballing world came alive.

Cardiff’s chairman also confirmed the club’s manager, Neil Warnock of having a strong connection with the football agents, and that people had “knives out” for Cardiff’s manager.

A plane carrying two passengers, Sala and his pilot David Ibbotso, went missing over the English Channel on January 21. Though Sala’s corpse has been recovered, no confirmation has been made on Ibbotso’s case.

However, a fundraising appeal to carry on the underwater search for the pilot has been set up. Cardiff City owner, Vincent Tan, in the wake of which has donated £50,000.

Confirming the Nantes action, Dalman said: “Of course, if we are contractually obliged to pay them then, of course, we will. We are an honorable club. But if we are not – and there are some anomalies in that – then surely you would expect me as the chairman and guardian of this club’s interests to look into that and hold our position. That is what we are doing.”

“We are still in the process of gathering information and that process will be ongoing. And when we reach a level where we have enough information, I am sure we will sit down with Nantes and move forward,” he added.

Warnock on the other hand complained about a “vendetta” against him. The statement came amid the existing criticism on his links with agent Willie McKay, but Dalman affirmed that he had nothing to answer in the case.

McKay is the same person who arranged the flight that Sala boarded from Nantes, but the agent had no role in handpicking the plane.

Dalman upon asking about Warnock’s relationships with agents said: “I have absolutely no worries about that. We take our relationships from the day he started working at Cardiff. I don’t really want to get involved in any vendettas and mud throwing.”

The statement, however, raised a few questions because two of McKay’s sons had been in Cardiff Academy.

The chairman further wrote off the rumors surrounding Warnock’s resignation over the death of Sala, and said that he considers his future “24 hours a day, seven days a week.” He confirmed, “that discussion has never taken place and I have absolutely no intention of holding that discussion.”

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Cardiff Shocked by Nantes Demand of Emiliano Sala’s Transfer Fee

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French club Nantes have left Cardiff City in shock and dismay after the former demanded the first instalment of Emiliano Sala’s transfer fee.

Argentinean forward player, Sala, was on board Piper PA-46 Malibu, which went missing over the English Channel on 21 January. Sala was accompanied by pilot David Ibbotson on board.

A private search, backed by Sala’s family and well wishers who donated money, found the wreckage of the plane on Sunday. By mid of the week, the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) said a body was also recovered from the wreckage, but did not confirm if the body was of Sala or Ibbotson.

In a statement to CNN, AAIB said, “Following extensive visual examination of the accident site using the remotely operated vehicle (ROV), it was decided to attempt recovery operations. In challenging conditions, the AAIB and its specialist contractors successfully recovered the body previously seen amidst the wreckage.”

On Tuesday, Nantes sent a letter to Cardiff, threatening to take a legal action if the first instalment is not received within 10 days. The letter came five days after Nantes had sent an email to Cardiff to remind the payment terms and to transfer the first of three instalments.

Nantes were entitled to receive the first scheduled payment of Sala’s transfer fee of £15m by now.

For Cardiff establishing all the facts involved in the tragic event is more important as of now. There is no indication that the club is not willing to honour its contractual obligations. The Welsh club is waiting for the investigation to get over.

In an interview with a French newspaper, Mehmet Dalman, Cardiff’s chairman, said that the club has received an invoice of 6m Euros (£5.27m) from Nantes.

Dalman said, “We must show respect to the family. There is the process of recovering the plane.”

Sala signed for Cardiff on 19 January – but never played for the club – two days later, while he was flying back from Nantes after saying goodbye to his former teammates, the tragic accident took place. Reportedly, Cardiff have a player insurance policy of £16m per individual and it is believed that Sala was insured by Cardiff.

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