Brazilian first division club Chapecoense was flying to Medellin last night when their plane went down outside the city, killing 71 of the 77 passengers. The club was flying to Medellin to play Atletico Nacional in the Copa Sudamericana final.
Since the crash, tributes have poured in from all over the soccer world. La Liga announced a minute of silence before all this weekend’s kickoffs (as did Ligue 1) and Nacional asked CONMEBOL to award the Copa Sudamericana title to Chapecoense. Guns N’ Roses even released a short tribute video, morbidly set to “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door.”
Most meaningfully, the rest of the Brazilian soccer world has banded together in an effort to keep Chapecoense afloat. Eleven clubs formally asked Brazilian soccer authorities to keep Chape in Serie A and free from relegation for three years, per Globo. They also said that they would be willing to loan players to the club for free over the course of next season.
Chapecoense rose all the way from Serie C to the final of a continental competition in four years, and good-faith loans and support from across Serie A are necessary measures to ensure that the club can retain the place in the top division. It’s a small gesture, but one intended to preserve the incredible on-field legacy of one of South America’s most incredible teams. As club vice president Ivan Tozzo said, the team was “the biggest reason for joy here.”