Sala died in an airplane crash near the Channel Island of Guernsey on Jan. 21 before playing a game for the Welsh soccer club. Sala was traveling to Cardiff from Nantes to complete the 15 million-pound (about $20 million) transfer that the clubs had agreed to two days earlier.
Cardiff said it is "extremely disappointed" at the FIFA ruling announced on Monday — which also suggested Cardiff could also be liable for subsequent payments to Nantes — and would be appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
"It would appear the committee has reached its conclusion on a narrow aspect of the overall dispute, without considering the full documentation presented by Cardiff to FIFA," Cardiff said in a statement released Wednesday.
"Nevertheless there remains clear evidence that the transfer agreement was never completed in accordance with multiple contractual requirements which were requested by Nantes, thereby rendering (it) null and void."
Cardiff, which was in the English Premier League at the time of Sala's death but now plays in the second-tier Championship, said the "ongoing civil and criminal considerations both in the UK and abroad" also will likely have an impact on the validity of the transfer.
Sala was travelling in a single-engine aircraft with a pilot, David Ibbotson, when it lost contact with Air Traffic Control. The body of the 28-year-old Sala was recovered from the wreckage two weeks later. Ibbotson's body has not been found.
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer nd https://twitter.com/AP_Sports