The whole world of football mourned with the tragic end of the Brazilian fairy tale club. Wembley’s arch was lit up in green, a minute of silence was held prior to the match between Liverpool and Leeds, Real Madrid and Barcelona held the same act prior to their training session and acts of solidarity were visible across all media platforms.
The past has witnessed such tragic events occur. Torino in 1949, Manchester United and the Munich disaster in 1958, Zambia’s national team in 1993 and there were a few more.
Chapecoense were supposed to play in the final of the Copa Sudamericana vs Atletico Nacional. The latter offered already to hand the cup to Chapeocoense, Santiago Bernabeu offered Manchester United the European cup after Real Madrid won it in 1958.
there were many other gestures by clubs and football associations worldwide but the main issue is how to recover from such a devastating disaster?
The football clubs in Brazil have already submitted a request to the local federation to ensure that Chapecoense cannot be relegated in the next three years. In addition, clubs in the league have agreed to loan players to the club for free for the next season.
The format of Brazilian football is different. The national league runs from December to May and because of the disaster, the final match of the season has been postponed by a week to the 11th of December with Chapecoense scheduled to host Atletico Miniero. In January, the state championships commence (Brazilfooty.com), leaving Chapecoense one month to prepare, that’s if do take part in this competition.
Manchester United’s first game after the Munich disaster was played 13 days after the crash. While the number of players among the casualties was lower than the Chapecoense disaster, Still, 13 days seem surreal for a club to play a match after such a disaster and being able to win it with mainly reserve players is remarkable.
In the coming days, the picture will be clearer regarding the professional future of the club as modern football is highly demanding and with a very congested schedule.
Inevitably, the club will use it’s youth players in order to begin the process of rebuilding the squad but it will be interesting to see what the future holds for those youngsters who have to play in the wake of the disaster.
Re-assembling the squad will cost a lot of money. One way to raise money would be by playing fund-raising matches with high-profile clubs. Many European leagues will go on winter breaks soon and can utilise that time to hold such a match.
Next month the FIFA Club World Cup will take place. Personally, I would love to see a share of the total prize money go to Chapecoense. According to Totalsportek, the total prize money in this year is 28M$, the winner will pocket 7M$. With the European powerhouses usually winning this tournament, 8 times in the past 11 years, the 3 upsets were caused by Brazilian teams.
A football club is nothing without its community. The local community of Chapeco are all in pain but will do whatever it takes to get the club back on track. Football clubs rarely disappear even when they go to administration so surely no one will let a disaster to erase a club.
While the local community is crucial to the club’s continuity, the only positive thing that comes out of this terrible tragedy is that it occurred at a time that the world has become much smaller due to social media and technology.
As mentioned in the beginning of this article, the tragedy hasn’t skipped anyone and tributes from the entire footballing world were made. Football has proven time and time again to be a uniting force across the most distant places and opinions.
Crowdfunding campaigns can be run to help the club bounce back. One way of doing it is like the auction initiated by Classic Football Shirts who had 4 replica shirts of the Brazilian club(Joe.co.uk). This shows that there is demand, but more than that, people and football fans want to help the club regroup and carry on.
The mental effect this tragedy will place on the club and the community will stay for a long time. The players and staff who survived will not be the same again. The fans will be different and football in Brazil will be different, but they’ll all be the same and will do whatever it takes to keep this club running.