Football community mourns Chapecoense plane crash victims

Chapecoense Colombia’s Atletico Nacional, who were due to play a Copa Sudamericana final against Chapecoense, and other major football clubs expressed grief on Tuesday over the deaths of many team members of the Brazilian club in a plane crash.

Police said 76 people died when the plane carrying, among others, the team and officials for Wednesday’s first-leg game in Medellin crashed late Monday shortly before its planned landing in the Colombian city.

Five people survived the crash, according to police. Chapecoense named them as defender Alan Ruschel and goalkeepers Jakson Follmann and Danilo.

“Atletico Nacional deeply regrets and sympathises with the family and friends of Chapecoense,” Atletico Nacional said in a statement on their website.

Club president Juan Carlos de la Cuesta said: “We offer our support and solidarity with the Chapecoense club.”

The South American confederation CONMEBOL said it “greatly regrets what happened” and suspended Wednesday’s game and all the federation’s activities. Its president, Alejandro Dominguez, was on his way to Brazil.

Brazil’s football federation CBF meanwhile postponed Wednesday’s Brazilian cup final between Gremio and Atletico Mineiro, with further postponements possibly to follow.

“We express our solidarity and we direct our prayers to the passengers and crew of the flight,” the CBF said.

Gianni Infantino, president of the world governing body FIFA also expressed his shock and sadness.

“This is a very, very sad day for football,” Infantino said in a FIFA statement.

“We are so sorry to hear about the airplane crash in Colombia, it is shocking and tragic news. At this difficult time our thoughts are with the victims, their families and friends. FIFA would like to extend its most heartfelt condolences to the fans of Chapecoense, the football community and media organisations concerned in Brazil.”

European top clubs – many using the hashtags ForcaChapecoense or ForcaChape – also reacted with shock to the news from Colombia, most notably Manchester United and Torino, who in the past have both lost players in plane crashes.

“The thoughts of everyone at Manchester United are with @ChapecoenseReal and all those affected by the tragedy in Colombia,” tweeted Manchester United, who lost eight players in the Munich 1958 disaster.

Torino, who lost 18 players in a 1949 crash near their Italian home city, said: “President Urbano Cairo and the Torino FC share the grief for the tragedy that hit the Chapecoense club in Colombia.

“It is fate that will bond us for the future. We are close to you.”

Spanish champions Barcelona meanwhile tweeted: “All our support and solidarity is with the victims and the families affected by the ChapecoenseReal tragedy in Colombia.”

European champions Real Madrid said in a statement: “Real Madrid C.F. expresses its sorrow at the tragic air crash involving the Brazilian club Chapecoense and extends its condolences to relatives and friends of the victims. At the same time, wishing an early recovery for the survivors.”

In Germany, Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich tweeted: “Our thoughts go out to everyone at @ChapecoenseReal and those affected by this tragedy.

Source: GNA

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