Chapecoense president laid to rest in club city Chapeco

Chapeco (Brazil), Dec 5 (IANS) Sandro Luiz Pallaoro, the President of Brazil’s Chapecoense Football Club, who died in a plane crash last week en route with the team to the Copa Sudamericana final in the Colombian city of Medellin, was laid to rest here with family and friends in attendance and amid dozens of floral offerings.

Despite the fact that he was born in Pato Branco, in southern Parana state, Pallaoro was interred in Chapeco, the city where Chapecoense — which he had headed since 2008 — is based, reports Efe.

A large crowd accompanied the family on Sunday at the Jardim do Eden cemetery some five km from Arena Conda Stadium, where on Saturday a huge memorial service with 50 coffins containing the remains of victims of last Monday’s crash was attended by Brazilian President Michel Temer, FIFA chief Gianni Infantino and other dignitaries.

Besides the dozens of floral offerings, Pallaoro’s relatives also carried red and yellow roses and left them on the casket in a moment of intense emotions for all those on hand.

Seventy-seven people were on board the chartered plane owned by Bolivia’s Lamia Airlines that crashed Monday evening near Medellin, killing 71 including practically the entire soccer team and many of its staff.

Chapecoense had been scheduled to play in the Copa Sudamericana final against Colombia’s Atletico Nacional, the first time the Brazilian squad had made it to an international final.

Pallaoro’s dream was to win a Copa Libertadores title with Chapecoense and his good management of the club led to his being awarded the 2015 Businessman of the Year by the Chapeco Commercial and Industrial Association.

He also managed to increase the club’s annual revenue from 1.5 million reais (about $432,000) in 2009 to 40 million reais (about $11.51 million) last year.

During Pallaoro’s time at the club’s helm, Chapecoense moved into Brazilian football’s first division and, in the last two seasons, played in the Copa Sudamericana although last year it was eliminated in the quarter-finals by Argentina’s River Plate.

–IANS

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