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Umbro scrambles to meet demand for shirts from devastated team

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A fan of the Atletico Nacional soccer club holds a candle and wears a shirt in support while paying tribute to the players of Brazilian club Chapecoense killed in the recent airplane crash, in Medellin, Colombia, November 30, 2016. REUTERS/Fredy Builes
A fan of the Atletico Nacional soccer club holds a candle and wears a shirt in support while paying tribute to the players of Brazilian club Chapecoense killed in the recent airplane crash, in Medellin, Colombia, November 30, 2016. REUTERS/Fredy Builes

By Brad Haynes

CHAPECO, Brazil (Reuters) - An outpouring of support for the Brazilian soccer team devastated by an air crash this week has nearly wiped out retailers' inventory of their shirts, forcing an emergency meeting with producer Umbro for an extra run.

Ivan Tozzo, acting president of the Chapecoense club, said in an interview on Thursday that he had met the day before with local Umbro representatives to discuss ramping up production.

Demand has been so overwhelming that the nearest Umbro factory does not have enough of the proper fabric to make jerseys for all the Brazilian clubs requesting commemorative editions ahead of the final game of the season.

"They're all out of Chapecoense green!" Tozzo said.

Umbro acknowledged that demand for the shirts was high as football fans around the world looked to show their solidarity with the team.

Only three Chapecoense players survived the crash outside Medellin on the eve of their now-cancelled Copa Sudamericana final against local side Atletico Nacional.

UK-based Umbro said it was looking for ways to handle the demand for Chapecoense shirts.

"However, anything will have to be done with the cooperation of both our partners in Brazil and the club themselves, who are understandably concerned with more pressing matters at this time," the company, which also sponsors Everton, West Ham, PSV Eindhoven and the Republic of Ireland, said in a statement on Facebook.

(Additional reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Bill Trott)


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