Atlético Nacional requests CONMEBOL to declare Chapecoense as Copa Sul-Americana champions
Copa Sul-Americana finalists Atlético Nacional released an official note requesting CONMEBOL to declare opponents Chapecoense as champions of the competition.
Chapecoense's opponent in the final of the Copa Sul-Americana, Atlético Nacional issued a statement on Tuesday afternoon in which they asked CONMEBOL to award the title to the team from Santa Catarina. The plane carrying the delegation of the Brazilian club, which included coaches, players, officials and journalists, suffered an accident in the region of Antioquia, near Medellín, taking the lives of over 70 people.
The club's statement read: "After being very concerned with the humanity part, we thought of the competitive aspect and we want to publish this release where Atlético Nacional invites CONMEBOL to award the Copa Sul-Americana title to Chapecoense in honor of the team's huge loss and in homage to victims of the fatal accident that our sport mourns. For our part, and forever, Chapecoense are the Copa Sul-Americana champions."
Atlético Nacional and Chapecoense were supposed to face off in the first-leg of the final on Wednesday in Medellín, but due to the tragedy, the two games were suspended indefinitely. CONMEBOL canceled the match in the early hours of the day. Atlético Nacional player Gilberto Garcia said: "We will take this as a warning from God to further improve our personal lives, to continue to believe in ourselves. Let's wait for CONMEBOL's determination, but we want them to clearly declare Chapecoense as champion. And then see what's next. The initiative is ours and the world of football. We hope CONMEBOL makes that decision."
He added: "We are dismayed, very saddened by the situation. We don't understand how it happened and what we can do right now is give all the strength and energy to the family of all who have passed away. Little can be said. It could happen to us too, we made many trips on that same plane. But it was unfortunate that it happened to them."