Barca pledge to revamp crash-hit Brazil outfit
“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.
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.