October 17, 2021

FA warns players over hiring small aircrafts

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The Football Association has written to all professional footballers, warning them of the potential risks they take when hiring small aircraft.

The guidance, originally from the Civil Aviation Authority, is a stark reminder of the dangers of using charter flights following the death in January 2019 of Emiliano Sala.

Sala was killed when the Piper Malibu light aircraft he was flying in crashed into the sea off the coast of Guernsey shortly after his transfer from Nantes to Cardiff City.

The pilot that night, David Ibbotson, who was not licensed to fly the aircraft commercially, was also killed in the crash.

Sky Sports News has seen a copy of the CAA’s ‘Legal to Fly’, which was emailed on Wednesday to all footballers and their agents, to give them “everything you need to know about flying safely in light aircraft and business jets.”

Emiliano Sala died when his plane crashed into the Channel in 2019
Image: Emiliano Sala died when his plane crashed into the Channel in 2019

The information warns of the existence of “unscrupulous aircraft operators” who are “only too willing to exploit the good faith of paying passengers for a quick profit.”

It explains how to check if a flight is legal and has all the necessary insurance and safety requirements.

Last month, Sala’s family announced they have launched a high court action against Cardiff City and Nantes to “protect their legal rights”.

David Henderson, who is alleged to have organised the flight, is due to stand trial in October.