When the single-engined Piper Malibu plane carrying Cardiff City's record £15m signing, Emiliano Sala, crashed into the English Channel on 21st January 2019 killing both the footballer and the pilot, David Ibbotson, it shone a light on the murky world of football transfers.
A combination of Sala’s upturn in form for his club Nantes, the desperation of Cardiff City to find a striker to avoid relegation from the English Premier League and the opportunism of football agent Willie McKay smoothed the way to the £15m transfer. It was a deal that seemed to suit all parties until tragedy struck...Sala’s death sparked investigations by more than one UK police force, the Air Accidents Investigation Bureau, FIFA, the Premier League, the FA, and the FA of Wales. It has already led to the imprisonment of two people and the arrest of another for manslaughter, with the potential for many more to follow.
In the aftermath of the footballer’s death the Daily Telegraph investigated the roles of Willie McKay, his favoured pilot David Henderson and the two clubs. Investigative journalist Harry Harris assisted the Telegraph team using his unrivalled contacts within the game to gain a fuller picture of this tragic transfer. What he and the Telegraph team uncovered will reverberate throughout the world of football for years to come because, as Harry makes clear here, the killing of Emilano Sala was no accident.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
HARRY HARRIS is a double winner of the British Sports Journalist of the Year award, who has successfully investigated football corruption, including producing dossiers on two former England managers. Harry was presented with the British Variety Club of Great Britain Silver Heart for “Contribution to Sports Journalism”, is a double winner of the Sports Story of the Year award, the only journalist to win the Sports Story of the year accolade twice. He has a total of 24 industry awards, a number related to his investigations into the murkier side of the Beautiful Game.