According to a statement from the world football governing body, FIFA's Players' Status Committee came to the decision in accordance with the €17-million transfer agreement made between the two parties prior to the Argentinian's death. Cardiff previously argued that they weren't liable since the player wasn't registered with the Welsh club prior to his death.
Sala and pilot David Ibbotson disappeared when the plane carrying the pair from Nantes to Cardiff on Jan. 21 crashed into the English Channel. Sala's body was recovered Feb. 7 following a thorough search of the sea bed and wreckage.
"The FIFA Players' Status Committee, which never lost sight of the specific and unique circumstances of this tragic situation during its deliberations on the dispute at stake, refrained from imposing procedural costs on the parties," the statement read.
In February, Cardiff chairman Mehmet Dalman said Nantes had sent a €6-million invoice for the first installment amid reports that the French club was threatening legal action if the payment wasn't received within a 10-day window.
The fee, which is a club record for Cardiff, was scheduled to be paid in installments over a three-year period.
"Within a deadline of 10 days, Cardiff City FC and FC Nantes can request a copy of the grounds of the decision, which can be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne," FIFA's statement added.