Barcelona pledge to revamp crash-hit Brazil club Chapecoense

FC Barcelona said they had invited crash-hit Brazilian club Chapecoense to participate in the pre-season Joan Gamper tournament next August at the Nou Camp

football Updated: Dec 08, 2016 19:21 IST
FC Barcelona,Chapecoense,Colombia plane crash
Barcelona star Neymar had last week honoured the 71 victims killed in a plane crash that wiped out most of the players and coaching staff of Brazilian side Chapecoense (Twitter)

Spanish giants Barcelona said Thursday they had pledged to aid the reconstruction of Brazilian side Chapecoense, decimated by an air crash last month in Colombia.

The Catalan club said they had invited Chapecoense to participate in the pre-season Joan Gamper tournament next August at the Nou Camp.

Read more | Neymar pays Chapecoense tribute ahead of Barcelona-Real Madrid Clasico clash

“Barcelona has agreed to invite the Brazilian team Chapecoense, victim of a tragic air accident as they headed for the final of the Copa Sudamericana, to the next edition of the Joan Gamper trophy,” a club statement read.

Barca said they wanted to pay homage to the 71 people who were killed in the November 28 crash - many of them players and officials of the Brazilian club -- and their loved ones.

Read more | Chapecoense: Brazil invite Colombia to play charity game

“With the invitation to Chapecoense to the 2017 Joan Gamper trophy FC Barcelona wishes to help with the institutional and sporting reconstruction of the club,” the Catalan club said.

It added it hoped the initiative would help the Brazilians “regain the level of competition it previously had.”

Barca said the Nou Camp date would constitute a “great homage from the world of football” in memory of the victims of the tragedy which shook the sporting world and revived memories of the 1958 Munich air disaster, in which eight Manchester United players died.

Read more | Chapecoense awarded Copa Sudamericana title by CONMEBOL after tragic plane crash

Current Manchester United goalkeeper, Spaniard David de Gea, tweeted after the accident in Medellin that he was deeply affected, not least as he previously played alongside Cleber Santana, one of the victims, at Atletico Madrid.

Barca’s invitation is designed to be one of a series of initiatives to help Chapecoense, from the southern city of Chapeco, get back on their feet.

The previously unheralded side had qualified for the Copa Sudamericana, the equivalent of the Europa League, for the first time and had been due to face Colombian giants Atletico Nacional in the first leg.

South American football confederation CONMEBOL agreed earlier this week to award the trophy to the Brazilian club.

Their squad was all but wiped out when their Bolivian airline Lamia plane went down in a mountainous region.

Just three players, two crew members and a journalist survived the crash.

Some Brazilian sides have said they will loan players to the club for the coming season to help them fulfil their fixtures.

First Published: Dec 08, 2016 19:21 IST