Chapecoense awarded Copa Sudamericana after death of 19 players in plane crash

Chapecoense awarded Copa Sudamericana after death of 19 players in plane crash

Tragic Brazilian club Chapecoense have been crowned winners of the Copa Sudamericana after their plane crashed while travelling to the final.

The jet carrying the Chapecoense team, along with club officials and journalists, to Medellin for the final against Colombian side Atletico Nacional came down late last Monday, killing 71 people including 19 players.

And the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) has declared them Copa Sudamericana champions 2016.

The gesture comes after Nacional asked CONMEBOL to award the title to Chapecoense in tribute to the victims of the crash.

The governing body also announced it has awarded Nacional the Centennial CONMEBOL Fair Play award, consisting of $1million .

It said in a statement: "For CONMEBOL there is no greater example of the 'spirit of peace, understanding and fair play' set forth as an objective of our institution than the solidarity, consideration and respect shown by Atletico National towards its brothers from Chapecoense."

Brazil's leading football clubs have also 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.

Former Brazil forward Ronaldinho and ex-Argentina international Juan Roman Riquelme have reportedly offered to play for the club, while another Barcelona old boy, Eidur Gudjohnsen, has offered his services.

''Out of respect I would play for @ChapecoenseReal if they have a place for me! If not just to play with @10Ronaldinho again #ForcaChape,'' the 38-year-old Gudjohnsen, whose last club was FC Pune City, posted on Twitter.

Chapecoense's acting president Ivan Tozzo has stated the club - which came up through the lower divisions after only being founded in 1973 - is determined to build again, but that can only be done with the support of the wider football community.

Just three of the team - defender Alan Luciano Ruschel, reserve goalkeeper Jackson Ragnar Follmann and centre-back Helio Hermito Zampier Neto - were named among only six survivors of the crash.

A minute's silence will be held ahead of all of this week's Champions League and Europa League matches as a mark of respect to those who died.

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