Nantes head coach Vahid Halilhodzic has confirmed the club’s players want to attend the funeral of Emiliano Sala in Argentina
Nantes will request to move fixtures if required so players can attend the funeral of Emiliano Sala, head coach Vahid Halilhodzic has confirmed.
Dorset Police announced on Thursday the body recovered from a plane wreckage in the English Channel was that of the striker, while pilot David Ibbotson remains missing.
Nantes, who sold Sala to Cardiff last month, have cut ticket prices to €9 for Sunday’s Ligue 1 game at home to Nimes to allow as many supporters as possible to pay tribute.
And Halilhodzic said the club will seek fixture rearrangements if necessary so players are able to travel to Sala’s funeral, with his body set to be transported to Argentina.
“Of course, we will ask. Now, how and what we are going to do are something else. I do not have the proper information yet. We’ll see,” he told a news conference on Friday.
“I do not know what we are going to do yet. Earlier, we will discuss with some players who were very close to him. We already played three games in this situation. We have to be strong. It was so unexpected and sad. We have to move on but I am telling you, that’s not easy. Not easy at all.
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“We always had hope. We knew that, it was thin, that it was almost utopian, an illusion. Unfortunately, I suspected two days ago of this truth – terrible, unjust. I know that the situation is different for Emiliano and the pilot’s families. Things are still terrible.
“We must now pay tribute to someone who will leave an eternal mark in this club by his behaviour, his modesty, and not only as a player. He has really been unanimously loved everywhere. I have seen almost everyone in the sport industry pay homage to him.
“Just now, before the training, we will do a small ceremony to honour him with dignity and modesty, as he was. After, can we work or not, it’s something else.”
Cardiff have confirmed they will work with the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) in a bid to find out why the plane came down.
“I wish to express my deepest heartfelt condolences to the family of Emiliano Sala for their loss,” said the club’s owner Vincent Tan in a statement.
“May Emiliano’s soul rest in peace. I am personally very sad over this incident. This fine young man would have been very happy and successful at Cardiff City where he would have made a new home and many friends.
“Cardiff City will continue to work with the AAIB and investigators to find out how the crash happened and to assist Emiliano’s family. We have offered to them to arrange to take Emiliano back to rest with his family in Argentina.
“Even though he will be there his soul will always be in our hearts. We feel a tremendous loss but the biggest loss is borne by Sala’s family. May Sala’s soul rest in peace.”
Sala’s family said the identification of his body will help to bring them closure.
“We would like to thank you for all your signs of affection and support in what is the most painful time of our lives,” a widely reported statement from the family read.
“Seeing the whole world mobilised to support us in our research has been an infinitely precious help. Thanks to you, we are now able to mourn our son, our brother.
“On this Friday morning, our thoughts go to David Ibbotson and his family, hoping that the authorities will do their best to find him.”
Sala’s sister Romina wrote on Instagram: “Your soul in my soul, it will shine forever thus illuminating the time of my existence. I love you, tito.”