Brazilian clubs offer support to Chapecoense following fatal plane crash

Brazil's leading football clubs have pledged to loan players to Chapecoense for free and asked for them to be safeguarded from relegation from the top flight for the next three seasons following a plane crash in Colombia which left 75 people dead.

Chapecoense were on their way to play in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final against Atletico Nacional, which had been due to take place on Wednesday evening.

The jet carrying the Chapecoense team, along with club officials and journalists, came down late on Monday night, officials from the Jose Maria Cordova International Airport in Medellin announced. There were 72 passengers and nine crew on board.

News of the crash sent shock waves around the football world, with FIFA president Gianni Infantino offering his condolences as did three-time World Cup winner Pele, while current Brazil international Neymar, the Barcelona forward, said the news was ''impossible to believe''.

Following Tuesday's developments, Atletico Nacional asked CONMEBOL to award the cup to their opponents as a tribute to the dead.

A joint statement published on the website of Corinthians called for all in Brazilian football to help Chapecoense rebuild as a mark of solidarity.

"In this moment of loss and profound sadness we, the presidents of the Brazilian clubs that publish this note, would like to express our sincerest sentiments of sympathy and solidarity with the Chapecoense Football Association and its fans, especially the families and friends of the athletes, technical commission and officials involved in the tragedy that occurred on Tuesday morning (29th)," the Nota Oficial read on www.corinthians.com.br.

"Even aware of the irreparable damage caused by this terrible event, the clubs understand that the moment is for union, support and assistance to Chapecoense.

"In this sense, the clubs announce solidarity measures to Chapecoense, which will consist, among others, of: (i) Free athlete loan for the 2017 season; and (ii) Formal request to the Brazilian Football Confederation so that Chapecoense will not be subject to relegation to Serie B of the Brazilian Championship for the next 3 (three) seasons. If Chapecoense finishes the championship between the last four, the 16th place would be demoted.

"This is a minimal gesture of solidarity that is now within our reach, but endowed with the most sincere goal of reconstruction of this institution and part of the Brazilian football that was lost today."

The extent of Chapecoense's loss was confirmed with the news of deaths of players and officials who were on the flight.

Club spokesman Andrei Copetti said goalkeeper Marcos Danilo Padilha had died in hospital, having been one of the people pulled from the wreckage.

Three players - defender Alan Luciano Ruschel, reserve goalkeeper Jackson Ragnar Follmann and centre-back Helio Hermito Zampier Neto - was listed as survivors as well as journalist Rafael Valmorbida and crew members Ximena Suarez and Erwin Timuri.

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