Plane carrying Chapecoense crashes
Former Atletico Madrid player on board
Brazil star Neymar sends support
Club changes crest from green to black
The world of sport has joined together in mourning after news of the tragic plane crash involving players from Brazilian club Chapecoense. More than 70 people have been confirmed dead.
Brazil and Barcelona star Neymar and Spanish club Atletico Madrid, which counts former player Cleber Santana as one of the passengers, sent their condolences.
The club has marked the tragedy by changing its crest from the traditional green colors to black.
“We are shocked by the plane crash which carried the Chapecoense team and our former player Cleber Santana,” Atleti tweeted.
Brazil legend Pele, considered by many to be one of the greatest players of all time, said: “The Brazilian football family is in mourning. This is a tragedy. I send my condolences to the to the families of the dead.
“Rest in peace.”
Chapecoense had captured the imagination of football fans across Brazil with its meteoric rise from the fourth division to Brazil’s Serie A.
From a city of just over 200,000 inhabitants, the team was on its way to play the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana, South America’s second biggest club competition, for a shot at the club’s first ever major trophy.
Colombian side Atletico Nacional, which Chapecoense was due to play in the final, says it has offered to award the trophy to the Brazilian club and is awaiting confirmation from the South American Football Conferation (CONMEBOL).
“For our part, and forever, Chapecoense are champions of the 2016 Copa Sudamericana,” it said in an emotional statement.
Rival clubs from the Brazilian league sent messages of support, including giant Corinthians.
“Corinthians offers strength to all friends of Chapecoense at this difficult time,” it said.
The club also put in a request to the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) that the club be exempt from relegation for the next three seasons.
Corinthians, as well as several other high-profile Brazilian clubs, also offered to loan players to the club without any fees during 2017.
Atletico Nacional invited fans to attend its stadium at 6.45pm local time (the match’s original kick-off time) dressed in white and with a white candle as symbols of solidarity.
Spain’s World Cup-winning captain Iker Casillas said: “My condolences for the plane crash carrying Chapecoense. A difficult moment for football. Lots of encouragement and strength!”
Several reports suggest the same plane carried the Argentine national team, including Lionel Messi, to Brazil for its World Cup qualifier in Belo Horizonte earlier this month.
Argentina’s Football Association expressed its “regret” for the disaster and also suspended the friendly between its Under-20 side and Uruguay.
Brazil’s president Michel Temer also tweeted to announce three days of mourning in the country.
Chapecoense player Alejandro Martinuccio, who didn’t travel with the squad, asked everyone to pray for his teammates and told Argentine radio: “I only survived because I was injured.”
The final of the Copa Sudamericana has been suspended and the CBF – which also changed its logo to the black Chapecoense crest – confirmed the domestic Brazilian Cup final has also been suspended.
Current PSG and former Sevilla coach Unai Emery said: “My thoughts are with the victims of Chapecoense’s plane. A really sad day for football.”
In Germany, both Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich sent their condolences.
“Borussia Dortmund mourns the victims of the plane crash in Colombia and is thinking of the families of the victims.”