Emiliano Sala turned down Cardiff City’s offer to take a commercial flight before boarding the doomed plane, leaked WhatsApp messages show.
Messages reveal the club offering a flight for the 28-year-old, which was turned down after Sala said he had arranged his journey with ex-football agent Willie McKay — the man who helped broker the £15m (A$28 million) deal.
The messages produced by French outlet Ouest-France show a Cardiff Player Liaison Officer sending a screenshot offering a commercial flight passing through Paris for the striker to take.
The messages are in French and Spanish and show Sala declining the offer because he already had a flight arranged after McKay called him.
It comes as McKay has accused Cardiff City of “abandoning” Sala.
McKay’s son Mark was the Nantes’ acting agent in the deal for the 28-year-old who died in a plane crash last month.
— EDAFE MATTHEW ESEOGHENE (@ELEGBETE1) February 28, 2019
He arranged the flight from Nantes to the Welsh capital when the Piper Malibu crashed into the sea on January 21, killing Sala and pilot David Ibbotson.
McKay told the BBC: “He was abandoned in a hotel more or less to do his travel arrangements himself.”
Cardiff City say they “strongly reject” the claims they neglected to provide Sala with travel arrangements.
In a statement, Cardiff said: “Our club was in the process of organising a commercial flight for Mr Sala until this offer was declined owing to separate arrangements being made — the planning and specifics of which Cardiff was not privy to.
“Cardiff has serious concerns over the potential unlawfulness of the journey following information that has been released. Clearly more answers as to the details surrounding this terrible tragedy are required.”
McKay is not a registered agent but says he got involved in the Sala deal to help his son.
‘THEY’VE BEEN A DISGRACE’
McKay also called Cardiff City a “disgrace”. He added: “Nobody in Cardiff seemed to be doing anything. It was a bit embarrassing for Cardiff.
“They buy a player for 17m euros and then leave him in a hotel by himself to go on the computer and look for a flight — I think Cardiff let themselves down badly.
“The way they’ve acted so far, they’ve been a disgrace.”
The Argentine striker’s body was recovered from the plane wreckage in the English Channel on February 6 following a private search launched by his family.
An inquest showed he died from “head and trunk” injuries.
Fifa is investigating the transfer payment for Sala after his former club has made a claim against Cardiff.
Cardiff have withheld the scheduled initial £5.13m payment for the player following his death in a private air crash last month.
The Welsh side were due to make the payment by February 5 and then had a later deadline of February 20, which was extended by a further week.
But now Nantes, who owe Bordeaux 50 per cent of the fee as part of a sell-on clause, have taken the matter to the world governing body
A Fifa spokesman told SunSport: “We can confirm that we have received yesterday evening a claim from FC Nantes against Cardiff City in connection with the transfer of Emiliano Sala.
“We are looking into the matter and consequently we have no further comments at this stage.”
Ibbotson’s body has yet to be recovered from the seabed of the English Channel.
Culled from The Sun Uk