Madrid, Feb 12 (IANS) The Union of European Football Associations on Tuesday said all UEFA Champions League and Europa League matches this week will observe a minute of silence to pay tribute to late Argentine forward Emiliano Sala.
“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,” said UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin.
Sala went missing on January 21 after a small plane he was on crashed while flying over the English Channel on its way from Ligue 1 team Nantes to English Premier League side Cardiff City. But Sala’s death could not be confirmedthe until February 7, reports Efe news.
“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 said.
Clubs participating in this week’s games will wear black armbands in honour of Sala.
On February 7, the United Kingdom’s government agency investigating civil aircraft accidents said a body had been retrieved from wreckage of a plane identified as the one in which Sala was travelling.
“The body brought to Portland Port today (Thursday, February 7) has been formally identified by HM Coroner for Dorset as that of professional footballer Emiliano Sala,” police in southwestern England said.
Following the announcement, Nantes said that Sala who scored 48 goals over 144 first tier French football matches would have a special place in the history of the club.
Sala and pilot David Ibbotson were the only two occupants of the aircraft that lost contact with air traffic controllers some 24 kilometers (15 miles) north of the Channel Island of Guernsey at 8.23 pm on January 21.
The player was travelling from the French city of Nantes, where he had bid a final farewell to his former teammates, to Cardiff in south Wales, where he was to join the local team and begin the next stage of his career in the English Premier League.