Conmebol to decide River-Boca Copa Libertadores final on Tuesday
South American Soccer Confederation (Conmebol) officials and the managements of River Plate and Boca Juniors will decide this week when and where the Argentine clubs will play the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final.
Conmebol officials and team executives are scheduled to meet in the Paraguayan capital on Tuesday to set a date for the conclusion of South America’s premier club tournament.
On Sunday, Conmebol president Alejandro Dominguez said the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final between the Buenos Aires-based clubs would be rescheduled a second time to an unspecified date because the conditions for staging the match were inadequate.
The championship match was initially scheduled for Saturday afternoon but was rescheduled for Sunday at 5:00 pm due to a series of violent incidents that forced officials to postpone the final of South America’s premier club tournament.
Boca Juniors asked the regional soccer body on Sunday to postpone the match in light of the “magnitude and severity” of the violence a day earlier around River Plate’s El Monumental Stadium.
On Saturday, 30 people were arrested due to violent incidents in the vicinity of the stadium, forcing officials to postpone the second leg of the tournament final.
In an initial incident, the team bus carrying Boca Juniors players to El Monumental came under attack by River Plate fans in Buenos Aires’ Belgrano neighborhood.
Some objects thrown by the rowdy fans shattered the vehicle’s windows. Police responded by using pepper spray to disperse the assailants, but the action, according to team executives, ended up injuring some Boca players.
Later, a crowd of people who had gathered outside the stadium clashed with police while some Boca players were being treated by medical personnel and team officials and representatives of Conmebol, which organizes the Copa Libertadores, were discussing whether the match should be postponed.
Buenos Aires government representatives said more than 100,000 people had gathered around El Monumental Stadium.
The people arrested in connection with the violence were released by judicial officials on Sunday afternoon.
Buenos Aires Mayor Horacio Rodriguez Larreta blamed soccer hooligans for the violence, saying they were “mafias attached to soccer for more than 50 years.”
The Argentine government called on Monday for a “good investigation” to determine who was behind the violence around El Monumental.
“When you fight the gangs, many times these gangs fight back. You have to work so they will have less of an impact, but you can’t give up on erradicating the violence,” Cabinet chief Marcos Peña said during a press conference in Buenos Aires.
The meeting to set the date and venue for the Libertadores final is scheduled to start at 10:00 am Tuesday at Conmebol headquarters in Asuncion.
The clubs played to a 2-2 draw at Boca’s La Bombonera Stadium in the Nov. 11 first leg of the final.
Due to concerns about fighting between supporters of the arch-rival clubs, away fans had been barred from both legs of the final.