Emiliano Sala private search fund reaches €300,000 target

Sala
Image: An image of Emiliano Sala was shown on the big screen ahead of Swansea's FA Cup win over Gillingham on Saturday

A fundraising campaign aimed at relaunching the search for missing Cardiff striker Emiliano Sala has reached its revised target of €300,000.

The GoFundMe page, set up by French sports agency Sport Cover, says it is motivated by "the urgency of the situation and the decision of the authorities not to pursue the search".

Cardiff joined Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona in demanding the hunt for the plane carrying their missing Argentine forward to start again, after the search for Sala and pilot David Ibbotson was called off on Thursday afternoon following three days of scouring the English Channel.

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Messages shared between Emiliano Sala and the son of agent Willie McKay discussing flight arrangements have been revealed

Argentina's president Mauricio Macri also told his foreign minister to issue formal requests to Britain and France for search efforts to resume, according to a statement from the premier's office on Friday.

A host of European football stars have donated to the search fund, including Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, Valencia's Geoffrey Kondogbia, Bayern Munich player Corentin Tolisso and Roma's Maxime Gonalons.

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Nantes coach Vahid Halihodzic has criticised the decision to call off the search for missing footballer Emiliano Sala

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

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.

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Image: Tributes continue to pour in for Emiliano Sala at the Cardiff City Stadium

McKay said that although he arranged the flight for Sala through a company he had used many times, he did not own the plane, nor did he select the aircraft or the pilot.

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

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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