Copa Sudamericana Chapecoense-SC v Atl. Nacional Betting Halted After Plane Crash

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Online bookmakers offering betting on what was to be the upcoming Copa Sudamericana has been closed following the tragic plane crash that took the lives of most teammates of Brazil’s Cinderella club Chapecoense-SC.

Seventy-five of the 81 passengers aboard a plane carrying the Brazilian soccer team were killed late Monday night when the chartered British Aerospace 146 short-haul plane, operated by LaMia, crashed while on its way to the finals of a regional tournament, authorities in Colombia said.  The team was set to play Colombia’s Atl. Nacional.

An emergency was declared around 10 p.m. Monday night because of an electrical failure, aviation officials confirmed.

Alfredo Bocanegra, the head of Colombia's aviation authority, said initial reports suggest the aircraft was suffering electrical problems although investigators were also looking into an account from one of the survivors that the plane had run out of fuel about 5 minutes from its expected landing at Jose Maria Cordova airport outside Medellin.

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The southern Brazilian squad was set to play Wednesday in the first of a two-game Copa Sudamericana final against Atletico Nacional of Medellin. The tournament features some of the top soccer teams in South America. Chapecoense-SC was relishing its usual underdog status entering the first leg of this contest as a 5/1 road dog and 3/1 home dog in the second leg.

"It's a tragedy of huge proportions," Medellin Mayor Federico Gutierrez told Blu Radio, later adding: “What was supposed to be a celebration has turned into a tragedy.”

The team, from the small city of Chapeco, was in the middle of a fairy tale season. Rising through the ranks of Brazil's soccer leagues, it joined the country's top division in 2014 for the first time since the 1970s and made it last week to the Copa Sudamericana finals after defeating two of Argentina's fiercest squads, San Lorenzo and Independiente, as well as Colombia's Junior.

The team is so modest that its 22,000-seat arena was ruled by tournament organizers too small to host the final match, which was instead moved to a stadium 300 miles to the north in the city of Curitiba.

"Chapecoense was the biggest source of happiness in the town," the club's vice-president, Ivan Tozzo, told Brazil's SporTV. "Many in the town are crying."

The tournament and all betting on it was cancelled effective Tuesday November 29, 2016.

- Alistair Prescott,, and the Associated Press

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