Barcelona Invites Chapecoense to Play Friendly in 2017


Barcelona has invited Brazilian club Chapecoense to play them in a pre-season friendly next summer.

Nineteen Chapecoense players and staff were among 71 people killed in a plane crash as the team travelled to Colombia for the Copa Sudamericana’s first leg.

The friendly would be for the Joan Gamper trophy, which is an annual match between Barcelona and an invited team.

In a statement, Barcelona said they wanted to “pay tribute” to the victims and help Chapecoense recover.

Barcelona said they wanted to make the Joan Gamper trophy “a great tribute to the world of football through various activities around this match”.

“Along with the invitation to Chapecoense to the 2017 Joan Gamper Trophy, Barcelona would like to collaborate on the institutional and sporting reconstruction of the club, and help to recover the competitive level that it had,” they added.

“Barcelona has today sent a formal letter of invitation to the current board of directors of Chapecoense.”

Three Chapecoense players were among six people to survive the crash.

One of the surviving players in the plane crash in Colombia is recovering and may be able to resume his career, his father has announced.

Helio Hermito Zampier Neto, a 31-year-old defender for Chapecoense, was in a stable condition, doctors said, after surgery on a lung, a knee, a wrist and his head.

Colombian officials say evidence is growing that the plane ran out of fuel.

Miguel Quiroga, the pilot of the British-made Avro RJ85 aircraft, had been warned by an official at Santa Cruz airport, in Bolivia, where the plane took off, that he might not have enough fuel, Bolivian Deber newspaper said.

But, despite the official’s concerns, he went ahead with the flight to Medellin. The country’s authorities have not yet commented.

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