Chapecoense's rival teams offer loan players following fatal plane crash

Players of the Chapecoense football team before their Brazilian Series A Championship match in May.
REUTERS

Players of the Chapecoense football team before their Brazilian Series A Championship match in May.

Brazil's top flight football teams have offered to loan players to Chapecoense for next season after the small southern club lost almost all its players in a plane crash in Colombia.

The teams on Tuesday also asked the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) to give Chapecoense a three-year exemption from relegation - the process through which teams are assigned to a lower classification if they do not perform well.

The Brazilian team was on its way to Medellin to play Colombian side Atletico Nacional in the final of the Copa Sudamericana, South America's equivalent of the Europa League, when its plane crashed into a hillside on Monday night.

Grief-stricken football fans filled a stadium to mourn the death toll from the plane crash.
HEULER ANDREY/GETTY IMAGES

Grief-stricken football fans filled a stadium to mourn the death toll from the plane crash.

"It is the minimum gesture of solidarity that is within our reach at this point in time but it is borne of the sincerest desire to reconstruct this institution and that part of Brazilian football that was lost today," the statement said.

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The CBF did not immediately respond to the offer.

Fans consoled each other as thousands gathered to mourn the dead footballers.
HEULER ANDREY/GETTY IMAGES

Fans consoled each other as thousands gathered to mourn the dead footballers.

Wednesday's final was cancelled and all games scheduled for the upcoming week in Brazil were postponed.

RIVALS PLEA

Colombian club Atletico Nacional on Tuesday (Wednesday NZ Time) publicly asked the South American football federation CONMEBOL to award the Copa Sudamericana to Brazilian rival Chapecoense after most of the team's players were killed in a plane crash.

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Chapecoense had been en route to Medellin to play Atletico Nacional when the team's plane went down on Monday night (Tuesday NZT).

"Atletico Nacional asks CONMEBOL that the Copa Sudamericana title be awarded to the Chapecoense Football Association as a laurel in honour of its great loss and a posthumous homage to the victims of the fatal accident that has left our sport in mourning," read a statement on the club's website.

"As far as we are concerned, Chapecoense will forever be the champions of the Copa Sudamericana 2016."

 - Reuters

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