Colombian club Atletico Nacional have asked CONMEBOL to award rival Brazilian club Chapecoense with the Copa Sudamericana title after a plane carrying the Brazilian team crashed en route to Colombia on Monday night.

A chartered plane transporting the Chapecoense team and personnel to Medellin’s international airport in Colombia with 81 people aboard crashed on Monday night. At least six passengers have survived, and Colombian authorities say rescue efforts are ongoing.

The club, from the small city of Chapeco, were in the middle of a fairytale season. They joined Brazil’s top flight in 2014 for the first time since the 1970s and made it last week to the Copa Sudamericana final after defeating two of Argentina’s fiercest teams, San Lorenzo and Independiente, as well as Colombia’s Junior.

Atletico Nacional said via news release that they have requested of CONMEBOL to make a special exception, under the tragic circumstances.

“Atletico Nacional have invited Conmebol to deliver the Copa Sudamericana title to the Chapecoense Football Association as an honour for their great loss and in posthumous homage to the victims of the tragic accident that has our sport in mourning. For us, and forever, Chapecoense shall be the Copa Sudamericana champion for 2016.”

The Copa Sudamericana is South America’s secondary competition, below the Copa Libertadores, involving clubs across the continent. The final is played across two legs, with each team typically hosting one leg at their home stadium.

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Chapeco are so modest a club that their 22,000-seat arena was ruled by Copa Sudamericana organisers to be too small to host their home leg of the final, which was instead moved to a stadium 300 miles to the north in the city of Curitiba.

International players and teams alike, including Barcelona stars Neymar and Lionel Messi, sent messages of condolence to the families of the victims.

The plane that crashed, a British Aerospace 146 short-haul plane, operated by a charter airline named LaMia, had carried the Argentina national team 18 days ago from Belo Horizonte in Brazil to Buenos Aires, following a World Cup qualifier.

 

Culled from ESNFC

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