Chapecoense relegated three years after airline disaster

The small-town team that captured the world’s attention when most of its players were killed in an airline crash three years ago was relegated from Brazil’s Serie A on Wednesday, bringing an end to a heroic six-year run in the first division.

Chapecoense hit the headlines in November 2016 when its plane crashed on a trip to Colombia for the final of the Copa Sudamericana, South America’s equivalent of the Europa league.

All bar six of the 77 people on board were killed, including almost all the players and backroom staff.

With the aid of loan signings and an outpouring of support from across the globe, the team quickly recovered to maintain top flight status in 2017 and 2018, both times managing to outperform bigger teams with more fans and larger budgets.

However, Chapecoense lost 1-0 at home to Botafogo on Wednesday, a result that condemned it to relegation from the Serie A for the first time since it joined the Brazilian football’s elite in 2013.

Chapecoense have won just six of its games this season and with three matches remaining it cannot win enough points to stay up.

It joins Avai, which was relegated earlier this month. Another two clubs will join them before the season ends on December 8.

“First of all, I want to apologise to the fans,” Chapecoense coach Marquinhos Santos said. “The fans here are different. When a fan stops you, they always encourage you, even when times are tough.”

“Chapecoense are now going to rebuild. Chapecoense are going to come back and come back stronger.” – Reuters

Show More
Back to top button