The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) have confirmed Brazilian side Chapecoense, who saw 19 players die in a plane crash on November 28, have been awarded the 2016 Copa Sudamericana title.
Colombia’s Atletico Nacional, the other club involved in the final, asked South America’s football governing body to give Chapecoense the trophy and prize money, worth $2 million as a mark of respect to the dead.
A fair play award and $1 million will be given to Atletico for their gesture.
“For CONMEBOL, there is no greater sign of the spirit of peace, understanding and fair play [comprising] solidarity, consideration and respect than that shown by the National Athletic Club of Colombia for their brothers of Chapecoense Associacao de Futebol Brazil,” a statement from the governing body said.
Chapecoense had been travelling to Colombia’s capital Medellin to play the first leg of the final, which is the continent’s second biggest club competition behind the Copa Libertadores, when the plane they were on crashed into a mountain just outside the city.
In total, 71 of the 77 passengers, including players, club officials and journalists, were killed.
The six survivors consisted of three players, two aircrew and a journalist.
An official investigation into the cause of the crash has been opened and footballers from across the world have offered to play for Chapecoense.
Among the names who have come forward are Brazilian legend Ronaldinho, former Argentina star Juan Roman Riquelme and Iceland’s all-time top goalscorer Eidur Gudjohnsen.
Because of the trophy award, Chapecoense will feature in next season’s Copa Libertadores, the South American equivalent of the UEFA Champions League.
The national teams of Brazil and Colombia have arranged a friendly match in January to help raise money for victims of the crash.
Around the world, football matches observed one minute silence before kick-off and players wore black armbands in remembrance of those who died.
By George Thorpe
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.