Chapecoense will be awarded Copa Sudamericana title after plane crash
Chapecoense will be crowned Copa Sudamericana champions after a plane crash claimed the lives of 71 people, including 19 of the team's players, and left them unable to play in the final. The club's interim president Ivan Tozzo confirmed that CONMEBOL, the South American soccer federation and organization that puts on the tournament, had decided to award the title to Chapecoense.
“CONMEBOL have testified that they will crown Chapecoense as champions of the Copa Sudamericana,” Tozzo said to Globo.
Chapecoense were on their way Colombia to play Atletico Nacional in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final when their plane crashed. CONMEBOL moved immediately to suspend the final, as well as all other competitions.
The following day, Atletico Nacional said that they would not ask Chapecoense to play the final and would be recommending to CONMEBOL that the devastated club be awarded the title.
“After worrying about the human aspect, we thought about the competitive aspect and we want to publish this statement in which Atletico Nacional asks CONMEBOL to present the title for the Copa Sudamericana to Chapecoense to honor their big loss and as a posthumous honor to the victims of the fatal accident that our sport mourns,” Atletico Nacional said in a statement.
Simply making the Copa Sudamericana final was incredible for Chapecoense, who were in the fourth division of Brazilian soccer just seven years ago. Their run to the final was being compared to the greatest Cinderella stories in all of sports, but they never got to play in that final. Instead of celebrating their amazing tournament and playing for a championship, they are now mourning.
But Chapecoense are Copa Sudamericana champions.
“For us, and forever, Chapecoense shall be the Copa Sudamericana champions for 2016,” Atletico Nacional said. And that's official now.