The president of Chapecoense. Ivan Tozzo, has accepted FC Barcelona’s invitation to play the Joan Gamper Trophy.
Chapecoense is the Brazilian club who lost nearly all its players in a tragic plane crash.
The invitation brings us a lot of happiness, it’s a privilege to play that match, and we thank Barça a lot for inviting us. And certainly, we will play the game.
Seventy-one players, club staff, journalists, and airline staff died in the heartbreaking accident. Barcelona hopes to honor their memories with the match, which might also help the club economically so they can hopefully provide for the families and continue the memory of those lost by keeping the club running.
Before the accident, “Chape” was known as the fantastic story of a small team getting promoted to the top level of Brazilian football, then getting to the finals of the Copa Sudamericana, the South American equivalent of the Europa League. Cruelly, they were on their way to the first leg of the final when the plane crashed.
Atlético Nacional, the other finalists, forfeited the game, and the Chapecoense squad were officially crowned champions.
It’s a story that has touched many, who feel deep sympathy with the families, friends, loved ones, and fans. Hopefully, Barcelona has alleviated a tiny fraction of that suffering - however small that is in comparison to the great pain they must feel. Maybe only for a moment, maybe only a very little bit, but maybe, just maybe it helps. Any tiny respite for them is worthwhile.
The Joan Gamper Trophy is Barcelona’s pre-season showcase, a friendly tournament named after the founder of the club.
Past invitees have included Manchester City, Bayern Munich, Tottenham Hotspur, Boca Juniors, Estudiantes de la Plata, Santos, Internazionale, AC Milan, Rangers, Borussia Dortmund, and Juventus.
In more than 50 years, Chapecoense will be only the 6th Brazilian club to be invited,