Copa Libertadores final moved from Argentina as Boca demand River thrown out

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  • Venue yet to be decided to host final on 8 or 9 December
  • Boca formally request that River Plate are disqualified

Guardian sport

The second leg of the Copa Libertadores final between Boca Juniors and River Plate will be played outside of Argentina on 8 or 9 December at a venue yet to be confirmed, the South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) has announced.

Boca Juniors’ president, Daniel Angelici, adopted a stubborn stance in a meeting at Conmebol’s headquarters in Asunción and delivered a letter formally requesting that River Plate be disqualified from the competition and for the second leg not to be played at all after Boca’s team coach was attacked en route to the originally scheduled second leg. Angelici said he would appeal the decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport “if needed.”

His counterpart at River Plate, Rodolfo D’Onofrio, was also in attendance as was Robert Harrison, the head of the Paraguayan Football Association, leading to speculation the match could be played in Asunción but Brazil and Italy have also offered to host the second leg. The first leg ended 2-2 at Boca’s Bombonera stadium.

Domínguez had hinted on Monday that the twice-postponed match may be moved to a neutral venue when he said that the “equal” conditions that Boca had demanded could not be guaranteed. On Tuesday, he said: “The conditions to play in Argentina are not right. Football is not about violence, it is decided with goals. Football is not what we saw on the weekend. That is a disease that needs to be eradicated.”

Conmebol’s decision to move the match away from Argentina may have been influenced by the G20 Summit, which begins in Buenos Aires on Friday and will take up much of the city’s police and security resources. With the Fifa Club World Cup beginning on 12 December, Conmebol need the uncertainty hanging over the second leg to be resolved quickly so that South America has a representative.

The match has been postponed twice following the attack outside the Estadio Monumental. A fusillade of missiles shattered windows and left some Boca players needing medical attention, including the midfielder Pablo Pérez, who went to hospital with an eye injury. It was rescheduled for 5pm on Sunday but was called off again three hours before kick off.

Conmebol’s disciplinary panel will meet separately to decide what punishment River Plate will face for their fans’ violent behaviour on Saturday. The two legs of the final were due to be played without away fans, as their safety could not be guaranteed.

But the scenes from the weekend were deeply embarrassing for Argentinian football, particularly as the country hopes to lead a joint bid for the 2030 World Cup with Paraguay and Uruguay, a tournament that England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales would also like to host.

 

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