February 8, 2019 / 8:46 AM / 8 days ago

Soccer: French League to pay tribute to Sala with minute's applause

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Ligue 1 - FC Nantes v AS Saint-Etienne - The Stade de la Beaujoire - Louis Fonteneau, Nantes, France - January 30, 2019 General view of tributes left outside the stadium for Emiliano Sala REUTERS/Stephane Mahe/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - All Ligue 1 and 2 games this weekend will hold a minute’s applause before kickoff in memory of former Nantes player Emiliano Sala, whose body has been retrieved from the wreckage of a crashed plane in the English Channel, the French League said on Friday.

Argentine Sala, 28, had been flying from Nantes in western France to Wales on Jan. 21 after signing for Premier League team Cardiff City when the single-engined Piper Malibu aircraft disappeared over the sea.

Wreckage was found on Sunday following a privately-funded underwater search and a body recovered on Wednesday and taken to southern England.

“Tonight and during the whole weekend, we will all be united in paying a last tribute to Emiliano before the matches kick off,” LFP President Nathalie Boy de la Tour said in a statement.

His former club Nantes said in a statement that Sala would “forever be part of the legends who wrote the story of FC Nantes”.

“I can’t find the words. It’s a tragedy, I’m devastated. This is why, like may fans, I wish to honor him again by taking out the number 9 (on Nantes shirts),” president Waldemar Kita added.

Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Peter Rutherford and Toby Davis

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