'So cruel': UEFA confirm Champions League matches to hold minute's silence for Emiliano Sala
European football’s governing body UEFA have confirmed the next round of Champions League matches will feature a minute’s silence in memory of Emiliano Sala, who died after his plane crashed into the English Channel last month.
The Argentine forward disappeared when the aircraft he was traveling on to complete his £15 million (US$19 million) move from French club Nantes to English Premier League side Cardiff City plunged into the water on January 21. Sala’s body was formally identified on February 7.
“On behalf of everyone at UEFA, I would like to express my sincerest condolences to the family and loved ones of Emiliano Sala for their loss,” UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin said in a statement on Tuesday.
“I am deeply saddened that his life was so cruelly taken away at such a young age and I urge supporters across the continent to pay their respects to his memory over the coming days,” he added.
On Monday, pathologist revealed that Sala had died of head and chest injuries on impact, following a formal autopsy after his body was recovered from the seabed north of the island of Guernsey.
Remembering Sala in the Champions League carries added significance, as it is believed the 28-year-old was making the move to the Welsh capital to pursue his dream of playing in Europe’s elite competition.
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Tributes have continued to pour in for the tragic player, with both Nantes and Cardiff fans and players paying their respects, laying mementos and organizing touching displays at matches.
A search to find the body of the aircraft’s pilot, Englishman David Ibbotson, is currently still receiving funding, and has been backed by Paris Saint-Germain and France forward Kylian Mbappe, who recently donated $34,000 to the cause.
Scheduled Champions League this week include Roma v Porto and Manchester United v Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday and Tottenham Hotspur v Borussia Dortmund and Ajax versus holders Real Madrid on Wednesday.