The world of football has united to pay tribute to those killed in a plane crash in Colombia, which included many members of the Brazilian club team Chapecoense. The Chapecoense squad were due to play in Copa Sudamericana final, the South American equivalent of Europa Cup with Colombian team Atlético Nacional. However, on 28 November 2016, LaMia Flight, which was carrying the squad to the first leg, crashed on the way to the Jose María Cordova Airport. There were 71 casualities, including 19 of the 22 Chapecoense players on the plane.
The team had earned promotion through the Brazilian football pyramid in recent seasons before reaching their first ever major final, the biggest match in their 43-year history. Their rise to success has been compared with Premier League champions Leicester City. The tragic events have drawn tributes from across football, including from some of the biggest names in the sport.
Fifa president Gianni Infantino said: “In this difficult moment, our thoughts are for the victims, their families and friends. “Fifa wishes to extend its deepest condolences to the fans of Chapecoense, the community of football and the media.”
Brazil football icon Neymar, said: “Today the World cries, but heaven rejoices in receiving champions. My feelings to all family and friends.”
Brazilian President Michel Temer has announced three days of national mourning out of respect for those affected by the tragedy. CONMEBOL, The South American Football ConfederationA minute's silence for the victims were observed before kick off immediately suspended all activities, including the scheduled final matches, in the early morning of 29 November. In light of these events, Atletico Nacional requested that CONMEBOL award the title to Chapecoense. This was a gesture of fairplay from Atletico Nacional. As requested CONMEBOL awarded Chapecoense the title of the 2016 Copa Sudamericana, their first continental title. Atletico Nacional were awarded for their gesture with "CONMEBOL Centenario Fair Play" prize.
A minute’s silence had been held for the victims of the plane crash before kick-off and several Brazilian flags were to be seen in the matches across the world. Fox Sports Brasil, which was scheduled to broadcast Wednesday’s final live, instead aired 90 minutes of silence in the time slot in memory of those who lost their lives. Six Fox Sports journalists - Deva Pascovicci, Mario Sergio, Paulo Julio Clement, Victorino Chermont, Rodrigo Santana and Lilacio Junior - were among the dead. Paris Saint-Germain’s Edinson Cavani showed his support for the stricken Brazilian club Chapecoense after scoring a penalty in the game against Angers.