Bagota: Chapecoense will be posthumously crowned Copa Sudamericana champions after the club was decimated by this week’s tragic plane crash which claimed 71 lives.
The Brazilian club lost 19 of their own players during the horrific crash in Medellin, Colombia, where they were due to play Atletico Nacional in the first of a two-legged final.
The chartered LaMia flight to Medellin went down after running out of fuel and Nacional asked Conmebol, the South American football federation, to award Chape the title as a mark of respect.
Every Premier League game this weekend began with a minute silence for those lost in crash which has rocked the football world.
And interim Conmebal president Ivan Tozzo confirmed on Saturday night that Chape could be awarded the title posthumously.
“Conmebol have testified that they will crown Chapecoense as champions of the Copa Sudamericana,” Tozzo told Globo.
“We are receiving support from all federations. The CBF, Conmebol, FIFA, and especially the people of Chapecó.
“Right now we are beginning to rebuild the team. People want football, people love football in Chapecó.
“Therefore, we must continue this. Let’s talk and do well, let the dust settle and rebuild the team for next year.”
The Copa Sudamericana was supposed to be the glittering end to the Chapeco club’s fairytale season, similar to the one experienced by Leicester City in the Premier League.
Brazilian clubs have promised to come together and support Chape by making them exempt from relegation and sending them players free of charge, with Ronaldinho and Juan Roman Riquelme offering to play.
Hundreds of fans kept vigil at Chapecoense’s stadium overnight, which is where the wake will be held after the coffins of the deceased are transferred from a nearby airfield.
Nearly 100,000 fans are expected to attend, along with Fifa president Gianni Infantino.