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24-01-2019 16:33 | Read 198 times

Cardiff City Chairman: Missing footballer declined Cardiff City travel offer

Mehmet Dalman, the Turkish Cypriot chairman of Cardiff City football club, said his newly-signed player Emiliano Sala – who is feared dead after a plane he was on disappeared in the English Channel – had declined the club’s offer for travel arrangements.

Cardiff City Chairman: Missing footballer declined Cardiff City travel offer

Photo: REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

Mr Dalman praised global support since the plane went missing on Monday, but said the situation “doesn’t look good at the moment”.

His statement came as Guernsey Police resumed the search for Sala and pilot David Ibbots on Thursday, after “multiple aircrafts” scoured over 280 square miles during a nine-hour search on Wednesday, but “no trace” of the plane that went missing near Alderney has been found.
Channel Islands Air Search Chief Officer John Fitzgerald, said there is “no hope” of finding  the men and that “even the most fit person” could only survive a few hours in the water.

In an interview with Sky Sports News, Mr Dalman confirmed the 28-year-old Argentine-born striker declined the club’s offer to arrange his travel to and from France, where he bid farewell to his former team-mates in Nantes.

"We have looked into this quite thoroughly and it is quite evident that Cardiff has the responsibility to offer the player to make arrangements [for travel], which will be commercial flights," he said.

"That would have meant taking the train from Nantes to Paris, then Paris to Heathrow, then drive down [to Cardiff].

"The player's reaction to that was that he wanted to make his own arrangements which would be much quicker."

Expressing his praise for all the support from fans and clubs from around the world, he added

"It is just tragic. We continue to hope and pray but you also have to be realistic and it doesn't look good at this moment."

Sala had joined struggling Cardiff City from FC Nantes last week for a club record fee of about 17 million euros ($19 million), after scoring 12 goals for the French club this season.

In a voice message left by Sala, published by Argentine newspaper Clarin, he said that it seemed as though the plane was "about to crash".

The plane had been cruising at 5,000 feet (1,525 m) when the pilot requested to descend to a lower altitude on passing Guernsey. It lost radar contact at 2,300 feet (700 m), the police said.

Police said that they had seen a number of floating objects in the water on Tuesday, but had been unable to determine whether they were from the missing aircraft.

The police said they had found no signs of those on board, and that if the aircraft landed on water, the chances of survival were slim.

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