Body taken from wreckage identified as Emiliano Sala

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The body recovered from a plane that crashed in the Channel has been formally identified as the professional footballer Emiliano Sala, police have said.

Officers said the families of 28-year-old Sala and missing pilot David Ibbotson, 59, have been informed of the development and will "continue to be supported by specially-trained family liaison officers".

Nantes have reportedly demanded the first installment of the transfer fee -believed to be worth more than $A9m - with Cardiff chairman Mehmet Dalman insisting they would send the payment "when we think it's the right time to do it".

The circumstances of his death will continue to be investigated, Dorset police said.

After nearly three weeks of searching, authorities have confirmed that professional soccer player Emiliano Sala was killed when the plane he was traveling from France to Wales in crashed into the ocean.

Dorset Police confirmed the identification on Thursday night.

The plane had been en route to Cardiff from Nantes, France when it vanished from radars near the Channel Islands.

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The investigation to find the plane was initially called off after three days, but Sala's family raised the funds to keep the search alive, with thanks to donations from global football community.

Cardiff released a statement offering their "most heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the family of Emiliano".

It said in a statement: "In challenging conditions, the AAIB and its specialist contractors successfully recovered the body previously seen amidst the wreckage".

Sala was headed to Cardiff to make his debut in the English Premier League after departing the French soccer club FC Nantes.

It said that extensive video footage captured by a remotely operated vehicle is expected to "provide valuable evidence for our safety investigation", adding that it intends to publish an interim report on the accident later this month.

Having joined Bordeaux aged 20 in 2010, Sala never really broke into their first team, but he had prolific spells on loan in the French lower leagues, including at Niort in Ligue 2.

He was born in Argentina, made his name in France but lost his life over the English Channel on his way to play for a Welsh club.