After having nearly its entire roster wiped out in the tragic Colombia plane crash on Tuesday morning, The Chapecoense Football Association could soon be officially declared the Copa Sudamericana Champions of 2016.
According to a report by Sport 360, Atletico Nacional, the Medellin club which was supposed to contest the Copa Sudamericana finals against Chapecoense, has conceded the title to the stricken club.
The club issued a request to the South American football governing body COMEBOL and asked “that the Copa Sudamericana title be handed to Chapecoense Football Association as an honorary trophy for its great loss, and as a posthumous homage to the victims of the fatal accident that has put our sport in mourning.”
The Chapecoense football team along with several members of their staff, team executives and sports media, were flying to Medellin, Colombia for the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana finals.
The match was scheduled to be played on Wednesday. However, on Tuesday morning, the plane which was carrying 77 people crashed into the mountains close to Medellin. 71 people were almost immediately confirmed dead.
Only 6 survivors were pulled out from the fallen plane. They all underwent treatment and one has reportedly passed away in the hospital. Another one of the team’s players survived but doctors were forced to amputate his right leg.
CONMEBOL initially postponed the two-legged Copa Sudamericana finals. No official statement has been made about whether or not the title will be awarded to Chapecoense. However, worldwide support has been growing and the gesture will likely be made official.
Latest reports from BBC state that the plane had run out of fuel before eventually losing electronic functions and plummeting to the ground. Initial speculations wondered in the pilot dumped fuel to avoid a fire. However, it has since been revealed that an abandoned refuelling stop has caused the problem. A representative of Lamia, the plane’s operator, was quoted saying that the pilot thought the fuel would last and opted to skip making the stop.
The plane’s black box has been recovered and the chilling final recordings from the plane clearly show the pilot stating that he has run out of fuel and he was trying desperately to make it to the runway.
Tributes and vigils have been staged both in Medellin and in Chapecoense’s home stadium in Brazil. Football players and fans from around the world have also been expressing grief and support.