Chapecoense Team awarded Copa Sudamericana

Brazilian club Chapecoense have been awarded the Copa Sudamericana by South American football confederation Conmebol after the club lost its players and staff in a plane crash shortly before the finals.

A total of 71 people, including 19 players and staff, died last Monday en route Columbia for the first leg match.

According to a CNN report, the Colombian team Atletico Nacional requested that Chapecoense be given the trophy.

However, Atletico have been recognised for their “spirit of peace, understanding and fair play”. They received a Fair Play award, a decision which Chapecoense Vice President Ivan Tozzo described as “justice”.

Chapecoense will be given the $2m (£1.57m) in prize money while Atletico Nacional will receive $1m (£787,000).

“We were sure that ‘Chape’ would be champions. It is a beautiful tribute,” Tozzo said at a press conference on Monday.

Three Chapecoense players were among six people to survive the crash.

Media reports claim a recordning shows the ill-fated plane ran out of fuel shortly before the crash outside Medellin.

Possible causes of the plane crash are currently being looked into.

Teams from around the world, including the Premier League, paid tribute to the players over the weekend and a minute’s silence is scheduled to be held before every Champions League and Europa League game this week.

Brazil’s leading football clubs have pledged to loan players to Chapecoense for free and asked for them to be safeguarded from relegation from the top flight for the next three seasons.

Former Brazil and Barcelona forward Ronaldinho and ex-Argentina international Juan Roman Riquelme have reportedly offered to play for the club, while another former Barca player, Eidur Gudjohnsen, has offered his services.

Brazil will play Colombia in a friendly match at the end of January to help victims of the air crash.