Football

Emiliano Sala: Identification will bring his family peace – Warnock



The forward’s family will be comforted by closure brought by the identification of his body, Cardiff City’s manager believes

Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock believes Emiliano Sala’s family finally have peace after confirmation that the body recovered from a plane wreckage in the English Channel was that of the striker.

The UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch confirmed on Wednesday that a body had been passed to the Dorset Coroner, having been recovered with the help of specialist contractors, and it was identified as Sala a day later.

The Piper Malibu aircraft disappeared with Sala and pilot David Ibbotson aboard on January 21, with the 28-year-old en route to Cardiff having completed a club-record transfer from Ligue 1 side Nantes.

Tributes have been paid to the striker from across the world of football since the news broke on Thursday, which has had a warming impact on Warnock, and he is relieved Sala’s family finally have some closure.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Warnock said: “While everybody expects the worst when it happens, I got a phone call last night and it was strange.

“It brings the family peace, offers them comfort – that’s what Sharon [Warnock’s wife] said from the start. I don’t know how it’s affected the players, one or two have always been a little sensitive.

“When I think I’ve seen it all in football, our fans keep surprising me every week now. I don’t think there’s anything that would surprise me with them, and the Arsenal fans, Bournemouth fans, fans from clubs all over.

“When something like this happens it brings all the football family together. It shows that everybody is thinking on the same wavelength and it’s a loss to everyone in football.

“When you look at the finances they were able to raise [via crowdfunding] to enable the search in the first place, I found that amazing. The response has been unbelievable.

“That might have surprised everyone. To get that response is just amazing, and I’m sure anybody in the circumstances would have done that. It shows football isn’t all bad news, hooliganism and everything else.

“I don’t think I have to mention Emiliano [in his pre-Southampton team talk]. The tributes will have an impact. I’ve asked the Premier League if we can wear shirts with the daffodils and I’m sure they’ll allow that.

“I wanted to mention David [Ibbotson, the pilot]. I’m sure his family will be going through hell. Our thoughts are with him and his family.”

After Sala’s disappearance was first confirmed, Warnock suggested the matter had made him consider his future as a manager, however he says his comments were blown out of proportion.

“I think that was a little bit over the top,” he said. “As always, you get certain tabloids creating stories – but I went in the local paper and put that to bed.

“Anybody that saw us play the last couple of games will know we’re up for it. It’s a challenge we want to face head-on.”



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