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16/12/2016 - 18:10hs

Head of Qatari football association visits Chapecoense

Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Thani, president of the Qatar Football Association is in Brazil to pay tribute to the football club involved in the air disaster that killed 71 people.

Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP

Tributes to Chapecoense were held throughout the world. This one took place in Osaka, Japan

São Paulo – The president of the Qatar Football Association (QFA), Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Thani, a cousin of Qatari emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, arrived in Brazil on Thursday (15) night to pay tribute to football club Chapecoense. The soccer team from Santa Catarina was in a plane crash at the end of November that killed 71 of 77 passengers, among players, coaching staff, directors, journalists and crew.

On Saturday morning (17), Al Thani will land in Chapecó (SC), where he will visit the football club and Arena Condá, Chapecoense’s stadium that was used for the funeral services of players, coaches and directors, plus local journalists.

He planned to meet with the family of coach Caio Júnior, one of the victims of the tragedy but, according to the club’s press office, the family members declined the courtesy claiming they don’t feel psychologically prepared yet to return to the city. The Brazilian was the head coach of Al-Gharafa, football club based in Doha, from 2009 to 2011.

The November 30 tragedy shocked the world. Countless sports teams throughout the world paid tribute to the victims of the plane crash, which was carrying the Chapecoense team to Colombia, where it would play, in Medellin and against Atlético Nacional, the first match of the finals of Copa Sul-Americana (South American Cup), a position that had never been achieved by the club from Santa Catarina.

After the crash, the South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) declared Chapecoense the champions of the tournament even with the matches not taking place – it was a request made by Atlético Nacional and the Colombian club, at the scheduled time and day of the match, at Atanasion Girardot, its Meddelin stadium, organized a beautiful ceremony in tribute to the victims.

Schedule in Rio de Janeiro

Before heading to Chapecó, Al Thani visited the headquarters of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) in Rio de Janeiro. It was a courtesy visit. According to Qatar’s embassy in Brasília, it was CBF who mediated the talks between QFA and Chapecoense. Qatar will host the FIFA World Cup in 2022.

The visit of the president of the Qatari football association to Brazil will be a short one. After visiting the club in the afternoon, he will return to Qatar.

*Translated by Sérgio Kakitani

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