Soccer star Sala exposed to harmful carbon monoxide in plane

Emiliano Sala in action for French club side Nantes. (Reuters)
Updated 14 August 2019

Soccer star Sala exposed to harmful carbon monoxide in plane

  • A single-engine Piper Malibu aircraft carrying Argentine soccer player Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson crashed in the Channel on Jan. 21
  • The Air Accident Investigations Branch said toxicology tests found a high saturation level of COHb (the combination product of carbon monoxide and hemoglobin) in Sala’s blood

LONDON: Argentine soccer player Emiliano Sala and his pilot were exposed to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide before their small plane crashed in the English Channel, killing them both, British accident investigators said Wednesday.
A single-engine Piper Malibu aircraft carrying Sala and pilot David Ibbotson crashed in the Channel on Jan. 21. Sala, who had played for French club Nantes, was traveling to join his new team, Cardiff City, in Wales.
His body was recovered from the wreckage two weeks later. Ibbotson’s body has not been found.
The Air Accident Investigations Branch said toxicology tests found “a high saturation level of COHb (the combination product of carbon monoxide and hemoglobin)” in Sala’s blood.

It said the level was 58%, above the 50% “generally considered to be potentially fatal” in a healthy individual. Carbon monoxide above that level can cause seizures, loss of consciousness and heart attacks, investigators said in an interim report.
The report did not say what role, if any, carbon monoxide exposure played in the crash. However, they said it was likely the pilot would have been affected “to some extent.”
“In this type of aircraft, the cockpit is not separated from the cabin and it is considered likely that the pilot would also have been affected to some extent by exposure” to carbon monoxide, the investigators said.
Daniel Machover, a lawyer for Sala’s family, said the finding “raises many questions.”
“The family and the public need to know how the carbon monoxide was able to enter the cabin,” he said. “Future air safety rests on knowing as much as possible on this issue.”


What next for Premier League’s ‘Project Restart’

Updated 03 June 2020

What next for Premier League’s ‘Project Restart’

  • Restart to begin with 2 matches on June 17, to ensure every side played same number of games

LONDON: The Premier League's return is just two weeks away but there are plenty of details for the 20 clubs in the English top-flight to work out before competitive action resumes on June 17.

AFP Sport looks at what is on the agenda at the latest in a series of meetings between the clubs on Thursday.

There have been squabbles over how final league standings should be decided if the season cannot be completed but clubs need a contingency arrangement if a spike in coronavirus cases wrecks their plans.

Most of the teams in the bottom half of the table are reportedly pushing for relegation to be scrapped if the season is not completed on the field.

That still seems highly unlikely, with the English Football Association and English Football League both insisting on promotion and relegation throughout the pyramid.

A points-per-game formula is the most likely option and is part of the reason why the restart will begin with two matches on June 17, to ensure every side has played the same number of games.

Once the two outstanding games — Manchester City vs. Arsenal and Aston Villa vs. Sheffield United — have been played, all 20 sides will have nine games remaining.

No dates for other matches have yet been released, but fixtures are expected to continue from where they left off in March and be crammed into just five weeks ahead of the FA Cup final on August 1.

A long layoff, little time together in contact training and a gruelling schedule mean players' bodies will be pushed to the limits.

In an attempt to minimize injuries and fatigue, world governing body FIFA has allowed leagues to temporarily change their rules to allow five substitutes.

Chelsea have also reportedly proposed increasing the number of substitutes available from seven to nine.

However, critics have suggested those changes will simply play into the hands of the bigger clubs with deeper squads.

Premier League clubs appear to have won their battle to have games played in their own grounds rather than on neutral sites.

However, the UK's national lead for football policing confirmed last week that a "small number" of fixtures will take place at neutral venues.

That is likely to include any match that could see Liverpool crowned champions for the first time in 30 years, to try and avoid crowds gathering at Anfield.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is unconcerned by playing at neutral venues, with results from four rounds of Germany's Bundesliga showing no advantage for home sides in a closed-doors environment.

"We will not have the help from the crowd but no team will have that, so where is the advantage?" Klopp told the BBC.

"Whoever we play it is the same situation, which is why I'm not too worried about it."

The use of VAR could also be dispensed with for the rest of the season should the clubs wish to further cut the number of people required for games to go ahead.

However, the Premier League's CEO Richard Masters is keen for it to remain.

"VAR has its own social-distancing issues, but we think there is a way of completing the season with VAR," Masters told Sky Sports.