Chapecoenese have been named the champions of the 2016 Copa Sudamericana; they were announced champions by the South American football’s governing body, CONMEBOL, after a formal request from Atletico Nacional.
The biggest sports tragedy of the year occurred late last month when 19 players of Brazilian football club, Chapecoenese, were killed in a plane crash – 52 other people also lost their life on that ill fated flight bringing the death toll to 71.
On a more cheerful note Monday, Chapecoenese were named champions of the Copa Sudamericana. This came after Atletico Nacional wrote a letter to CONMEBOL ceding the championship to Champecoense. Atletico Nacional were due to appear in the final against Champecoense.
Chapecoenese had had a fairy tale run in Brazilian football, this year, rising from the lower divisions to reaching the final of the Copa Sudamericana. After reaching the final of the Copa Sudamericana, the whole world took notice of the highly spirited Brazilian team, but in a cruel twist of fate, the Champecoense team was involved in a horrible plane crash which ended the dream.
However, the South American football governing body, CONMEBOL came out to name Champecoense the champions of this year’s competition after Atletico conceded the title – Atletico was awarded a fair play prize for their gesture – the ‘CONMEBOL Centenary Fair Play’ prize.
A statement released by CONMEBOL reads:
“CONMEBOL’s Council has decided to declare Chapecoense as the champions of the 2016 edition of the Copa Sudamericana, as well as grant Atletico Nacional the extraordinary recognition of the ‘CONMEBOL Centenary Fair Play’ prize.”
“Chapecoense are to receive all the sporting and economic prerogatives that this entails”
Atletico Nacional will also receive a cash prize of $1million (prize money for the fair play prize).
Many football matches played last week had observed a one minute silence for the departed souls involved in the crash, while players had worn black armbands as a sign of grief and remembrance.
A week earlier, Brasileirao clubs issued a joint statement requesting that Chapecoenese be exempted from relegation for the next three seasons in the Brazilian top tier league. Renowned footballers such as Juan Roman Riquelme, Ronaldinho and Eidur Gudjohnsen have all offered to play for Eidur Gudjohnsen.