Chapecoense will not play final match of season after opponent cancels
Chapecoense's final match of the Brazilian season has been canceled. Atletico Mineiro, who they were scheduled to play on December 11, has said that they will not ask Chapecoense to play the game after the team's tragic plane crash that claimed 71 lives.
“We believe in sport. We respect the pain,” Atletico Mineiro president Daniel Nepomuceno said, via the AP. “It's not the moment to demand that players play this match.”
The Brazilian soccer federation declared a week of mourning after the accident, however Chapecoense's acting president Ivan Tozzo said that the federation also asked the club to play their match against Atletico Mineiro. It doesn't appear as if they will now, with their opponents saying that the match is off.
Chapecoense were on their way to Medellin, Colombia for the Copa Sudamericana final when the plane crashed. 19 players were killed, while the three who survived remain in the hospital with serious injuries.
CONMEBOL suspended all matches, including the Copa Sudamericana final. Chapecoense's opponent in that final, Atletico Nacional, has asked CONMEBOL to award the tournament title to the Brazilian club, a request CONMEBOL has yet to rule on. With Wednesday's final called off, Atletico Nacional held a wake at the stadium instead.
Back home in Brazil, the country's biggest clubs have called for rule changes that will make it easier for Chapecoense to field a team in the coming seasons and protect their place in the top division.
All of the clubs from around South America have come to Chapecoense's aid, be they in Colombia or Brazil. Atletico Mineiro is one of them, calling off their final match and allow Chapecoense to grieve without any worries about sport.