South American football confederation CONMEBOL has agreed to award the Copa Sudamericana to Brazilian club Chapecoense, whose team was wiped out in a plane crash while heading to the final.
“CONMEBOL awards the title for the 2016 Copa Sudamericana championship to Chapecoense,” including the USD 2.0 million in prize money, the confederation said in a statement.
The unsung club was having a fairy tale season until the charter plane flying it to the biggest match in its history ran out of fuel and smashed into the mountains in northwestern Colombia a week ago, killing 71 people.
The side was heading to play the first leg of the final against Colombian club Atletico Nacional in the
city of Medellin. Nacional responded to the crash by calling for Chapecoense to be granted the Copa
Sudamericana, the second highest club football title in South America.
The confederation said it had heeded Nacional’s request in deciding to hand the title to Chapecoense. It awarded Nacional its CONMEBOL Centenary Fair Play award.
“There is no greater demonstration of the spirit of understanding and fair play than the consideration and respect shown by Atletico Nacional to its brothers in Chapecoense Football Club,” the statement said.
The small Brazilian city of Chapeco held a massive funeral on Saturday for its team after the victims’ coffins arrived home, each draped in the club’s green and white flag.
A minute’s silence for the team is scheduled to be held before every Champions League and Europa League game this week.