South American soccer’s governing body CONMEBOL has awarded the 2016 Copa Sudamericana championship to Brazil’s Chapecoense club.
— CONMEBOL.com (@CONMEBOL) December 5, 2016
The decision comes after some members of the team died in a plane crash in Colombia last week.
Only six people survived the crash, which killed 71 passengers and the crew.
The tragedy shocked football fans worldwide, and plunged Brazil into days of mourning.
Colombia’s Club Atletico Nacional, which would have played Chapecoense in the biggest game in the club’s history, asked for the trophy to be awarded to the Brazilian opponents as a way of honoring them.
“I think that it was the least that could be done for these men who died, who gave their lives to their profession and it was the wish of Atletico Nacional. These men undertook a great tournament and they came to dispute (the final) with us and I think it is the best thing for global soccer,” said Reinaldo Rueda from Atletico Nacional. said Reinaldo Rueda from Atletico Nacional.
As champions, Chapecoense will automatically play Libertadores champions Atletico Nacional for the Recopa Sudamericana next year.
They will also get a guaranteed spot in next year’s Copa Libertadores, South America’s equivalent of the Champions League.