ASUNCION: South American confederation CONMEBOL has confirmed the award to air disaster club Chapecoense of the 2016 Copa Sudamericana.
The Brazilian club’s first-team squad along with senior officials and journalists died on Monday night when their plane crashed while waiting to land in Colombia ahead of the final first leg against Atletico Nacional of Medellin
A CONMEBOL statement said that Chapecoense had been declared champions of the Copa Sudamericana and would receive the prize money due. Atletico Nacional – who had proposed the award – will receive a special fair play award worth $1m.
The statement added: “For CONMEBOL, there is no greater sign of the ‘spirit of peace, understanding and fair play’ [comprising] solidarity, consideration and respect than that shown by the National Athletic Club of Colombia for their brothers of Chapecoense Associação de Futebol Brazil.”
The weekend saw a wake held over more than 50 coffins at the club’s Arena Conda in southern Brazil. The disaster was marked around the world over the weekend with clubs wearing black armbands and playing games after a one-minute silence.
A BAe146 regional airliner operated by Bolivian charter company LAMIA had radioed that it was running out of fuel before smashing into a hillside outside Medellin. Six people survived, including three club players, two aircrew and one journalists.
Air Force troops, after unloading the coffins from a cargo aircraft, brought them to makeshift tents erected on the pitch where victims’ families sat.
Chapecoense hung a huge black banner from the outer wall of the stadium stating: “We looked for one word to thank all the kindness and we found many,” it read, followed by the words ‘thankyou’ in more than a dozen languages.
The families have been outraged by reports that the plane, which circled for 16 minutes while another aircraft emergency landed, had barely enough fuel for the flight.
Bolivian President Evo Morales has pledged to take “drastic measures” to determine the cause. Bolivia has suspended the operating licence of the LaMia charter company and replaced the national aviation authority’s management.