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Emiliano Sala private search fund tops €190k in one day | UK News



More than €190,000 (£164,000) has been raised to fund a private search for missing Cardiff City footballer Emiliano Sala.

At one point on Saturday, it was the most visited page on the GoFundMe site, with Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, Valencia’s Geoffrey Kondogbia, Bayern Munich player Tolisso and Roma’s Maxime Gonalons among the donors.

The fund, set up by French sports agency Sport Cover on Friday, is seeking to raise 300,000 euros (£259,000), motivated by “the urgency of the situation and the decision of the authorities not to pursue the search”.

The official hunt for the Piper PA-46 Malibu plane in which the Argentinian striker was travelling was called off on Thursday after three days of scouring the English Channel.

Romina Sala believes her brother to be alive and wants the search to continue

Sister: ‘Please don’t stop the search for Emiliano’

Sala, 28, and the pilot, Dave Ibbotson, are presumed to have died after Guernsey Police, who began the search on Monday, said the chances of survival were “extremely remote”.

But Sala’s sister, Romina, has pleaded with rescuers to keep looking, describing the 28-year-old as a “fighter” who is “not going to give up”.

Emiliano Sala is Cardiff's record signing
Emiliano Sala is Cardiff’s record signing

The plane left Nantes for Cardiff at 7.15pm on Monday and lost contact with Jersey air traffic control not long after requesting to descend towards the Welsh capital.

On Friday, text messages shared between Sala and the son of agent Willie McKay discussing flight arrangements were revealed.

Dave Ibbotson
Pilot Dave Ibbotson told friends he was ‘a bit rusty’

McKay said that although he arranged the flight for Sala through a company he had used many times, he did not own the plane, select the aircraft or the pilot.

After signing for Cardiff last Friday, Sala wanted to return to former club Nantes to say goodbye to teammates and collect his belongings before returning to Cardiff on Monday, and McKay stepped in after the footballer struggled to find a commercial flight.

Flowers laid outside the stadium in Cardiff
Flowers laid outside the stadium in Cardiff

In a statement, McKay said: “In regards to the booking of the flight, we contacted David Henderson who has flown us and many of our players all over Europe on countless occasions.

“We had no involvement in selecting a plane or a pilot and wish to make clear we do not own the plane that Emiliano flew on. As the text messages show: Emiliano was not asked for payment for the flight.

FC Nantes supporters have been leaving flowers outside the club
FC Nantes supporters have been leaving flowers outside the club

Cardiff’s staff and supporters will wear yellow daffodils at Arsenal on Tuesday in respect of Sala and the club captains will place flowers at the ground.

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