The team Chapecoense was traveling to play before the horrific plane crash killed 71 people on board, Atletico Nacional wants the grieving team to be awarded with the Copa Sudamericana championship.
The teams were set to play in Medellin, Colombia, in the first leg of the championship series Nov. 30, but the would-be host of that since-cancelled game wants its slated opponent to 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 (the South American soccer federation overseeing this tournament) 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.
“For our part, and forever, Chapecoense [is] the Champion of the Copa Sudamericana 2016.”
CONMEBOL suspended all activities in the wake of the tragedy — including the two legs of the final — but no ruling has been provided as to which team will be declared the champion for this season.
Seventy-seven people were on the flight that took off from Bolivia, according to the Associated Press, with six survivors. Defender Alan Ruschel and teammates Helio Zampier and Jakson Follmann were the survivors among the team members on board, each suffering extensive injuries from the crash, with a journalist and two Bolivian crew members also surviving the impact.
Chapecoense won a quarterfinal match in Colombia upon its previous trip to the northern South American nation. The Chapeco, Brazil-based team beat some of the region’s top teams, including Argentina’s San Lorenzo and Independiente, and Colombia’s Junior.