Boca Juniors boss rejects Conmebol plan for Libertadores final
The president of Boca Juniors said here Tuesday that his club will not accept the South American Soccer Confederation (Conmebol) plan for the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final until the regional body rules on its demand for sanctions against River Plate.
“We will not accept to play any match until (the Conmebol Disciplinary Tribunal) speaks,” Daniel Angelici said in Asuncion.
The decisive second leg was initially scheduled for Saturday afternoon but was rescheduled for Sunday due to a series of violent incidents around River Plate’s El Monumental Stadium.
Boca is asking that the second leg not be played, River Plate be penalized and the Copa Libertadores title be awarded to it.
Executives from both of the Buenos Aires-based clubs traveled to Asuncion on Tuesday for a meeting with Conmebol directors.
The incidents that occurred over the weekend “make it prudent that the final match not be played” in Argentina, Conmebol said in a statement after the talks, announcing that the second leg will take place Dec. 8 or 9 at a neutral site.
“We decided that the match, if it takes place, should be played outside Argentine territory,” Conmebol president Alejandro Dominguez said after the meeting.
The Italian city of Genoa has offered to host the match, but there is speculation that Abu Dhabi, where next month’s FIFA Club World Cup tournament will be staged, may be another option.
Angelici categorical rejected the idea of going forward with the second leg.
“We don’t have the mentality to play another final. We are going to wait for the decision and if we disagree, we will go to the Conmebol Court of Appeals,” he said.
“We will exhaust all the options we have inside Conmebol. Once it’s over, we will go to the TAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport, based in Switzerland), if we have to,” Angelici said.
On Saturday, 30 people were arrested due to violent incidents in the vicinity of River’s 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.
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 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-rivals, away fans had been barred from both legs of the final.