A registration error by Cardiff City could cost the family of Emiliano Sala up to £600,000 (Dh2.9 million), according to reports.
The Times newspaper reported on Thursday that the Premier League club made an error in registering Sala's contract with the league after signing the Argentine striker for a club record fee from French club Nantes during the January transfer window.
The league returned the paperwork to the Welsh club saying it was non compliant with Premier League rules. The league asked for corrections, and for Sala to sign the forms again, according to the report. Before he could do so, the 28 year old died when the single-engine plane carrying him from France crashed into the English Channel on January 21.
After an extensive search involving local and French authorities, wreckage was found on February 3 following a privately-funded underwater search and Sala's body was recovered three days later while the plane's pilot, David Ibbotson, is still missing.
Staff from both clubs, including Cardiff manager Neil Warnock and chief executive Ken Choo, traveled to Argentina last week to attend Sala's funeral.
Players registered in England automatically become part of the Professional Footballers’ Association’s pension scheme. If the Premier League rule Sala's registration invalid it could deny Sala's family any future payout from the scheme.
The new development also risks further fanning the flames between Nantes and Cardiff. It is understood Cardiff have used Sala's contract situation as proof that the player was not registered with them and thus making them not liable to pay Nantes the £15 million for Sala's transfer.
It is understood Cardiff have also written to Nantes seeking evidence the French club had fully deregistered the Argentine prior to the January 21 crash.
Neither Cardiff nor Nantes have issued a statement on the latest development.
It follows news earlier this week that the two clubs had agreed to extend the deadline on the first instalment of Sala's transfer fee until February 27.
The Bluebirds had been asked to make the first payment of €6 million to Nantes on February 20, but BBC Sport and Press Association Sport both reported on Wednesday that the clubs had agreed a delay of one week.
Nantes were on Wednesday fined a combined €21,000 by the French league's disciplinary commission after supporters set off flares during matches as part of a tribute to Sala.