America de Cali fans want the devil back in their crest
SAO PAULO (AP) — America de Cali has a new crest, and the Colombian soccer team’s fans aren’t happy about it.
The traditional pitchfork-carrying devil that first appeared in 1940 is gone, to be replaced by a simple letter A along with the name of the club and the year it was founded.
It’s not the first time that the devil has disappeared — in part because of religious reasons — but it has largely been a mainstay since the early 1990s. Fans of the team, which is known as the Red Devils, have now started a social media campaign to bring it back, using #eldiablonosetoca — or “don’t touch the devil.”
America chief executive Ricardo Perez said the change is meant to boost spirits after a decade of difficulties both on and off the field, harking back to the club’s glory days under coach Gabriel Ochoa Uribe, who led the team to seven league titles from 1979-91. Uribe objected to the devil because of his religious beliefs, leading to its removal from the crest during his reign.
“We want our fans to remember who we were in 1979 when we won our first championship. We want them to remember the Copa Libertadores finals we played in the 80s and we want to return to our golden age,” Perez said Thursday, adding that religion had nothing to do with the decision this time. “This crest reminds us of those days. We are not attacking our history.”
America has won 13 Colombian titles, but the club ran into financial problems after its last championship in 2008. In 2011, the team was relegated to the second division. It returned to the top division in 2016.
Club officials said this week that the new crest will be used for every America de Cali product.
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