Brazil Chapecoense: Tributes paid to team as season ends

Colombian and Chapecoense flags held on the pitch before Cruzeiro v Corinthians match in Belo Horizonte Image copyright All sport/getty images

Tributes have been paid to the Chapecoense players who died in a plane crash in Colombia on the final day of the Brazilian football season.

The LaMia plane ran out of fuel and crashed near Medellin, killing 71 people, including most of the team.

In stadiums across Brazil, fans from all the top division clubs held pictures of the players killed and sang Chapecoense’s traditional chants.

Teams had special kits prepared for the occasion bearing Chapecoense’s badge.

The Brazilian federation agreed to cancel the match between Chapecoense and Atletico Mineiro, which would have taken place in the town of Chapeco.

Neither team has been awarded points for the match.

Four referees turned up at an empty Arena Conda stadium as a formality.

‘Refuelling plans dropped’

The final round of the Brasileirao (Brazilian league) was postponed from last Sunday following the commotion caused by the tragedy.

Image copyright AFP

Image copyright Getty Images

Chapecoense were travelling to the Colombian city of Medellin to play the first leg of the Sudamericana Cup final against Atletico Nacional.

The British-made Avro RJ85 aircraft ran out of fuel as it approached the airport on 28 November.

In a leaked tape, the pilot, Miguel Quiroga, can be heard warning of a “total electric failure” and “lack of fuel”.

Two people have been detained in Bolivia as part of an investigation into the crash – one of the owners of the charter company that operated the plane and a former aviation authority official.

Both deny any wrongdoing.

A Bolivian official, Celia Castedo, says she warned Mr Quiroga before departure that the long flight between southern Bolivia and Medellin was at the limit of the plane’s maximum range.

She has now sought asylum in Brazil, saying she is being persecuted.

Six people survived the crash. One of them, crew member Erwin Tumuri, said an initial stop for refuelling in the northern Bolivian city of Cobija had been dropped by the pilot.

Many players, including former Barcelona stars Ronaldinho and Juan Roman Riquelme, have come forward since the accident volunteering to play for free for Chapecoense.

But even with financial and moral support from some of the world’s biggest clubs, it will take time to rebuild Chapecoense, a team that had risen from the lower leagues to the summit of Brazilian football, says the BBC’s Wyre Davies in Rio de Janeiro.

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