LONDON – Cardiff City led the Premier League’s tributes to Emiliano Sala on Saturday in the first round of English top-flight matches since his death was confirmed earlier this week.
The Argentinian’s body was formally identified by a coroner in Dorset, southwest England, on Thursday, a day after it was recovered from underwater wreckage in the English Channel.
The plane carrying Sala from the French city of Nantes to Cardiff, his new club, disappeared near the British island of Guernsey on January 21.
Pilot David Ibbotson remains missing. His family have launched a fundraising campaign to find his remains.
The Welsh club hoped Sala would help them avoid relegation from the world’s most lucrative league this season after signing him from Nantes for a club record fee.
Cardiff, away to Southampton on Saturday, had been given permission by the Premier League to wear shirts embroidered with a yellow daffodil, the national emblem of Wales and the team colour of Nantes.
Bluebirds manager Neil Warnock and his players bowed their heads as a minute’s silence was impeccably observed before kick-off at St Mary’s Stadium.
"Our thoughts remain with the families of Emiliano and David Ibbotson," said a message on Cardiff’s club Twitter account shortly before kick-off.
Saturday’s early kick-off, in a scene that will be repeated across English football this weekend, saw players from Fulham and Manchester United wearing black armbands as a mark of respect for Sala.
There was also pre-kickoff applause from the crowd at Craven Cottage, the home ground of London side Fulham.
Sala’s picture was also shown on the Craven Cottage big screen alongside that of the Cardiff badge.