The President of the South American Football Confederation (Conmebol), Alejandro Domínguez, announced today that the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final between River and Boca will be played either on December 8th or 9th. He warned, however, that it will not be played in Argentina.
However, regardless of the organization’s intention of holding the final, Boca authorities expressed their utmost rejection to playing the game, and formally requested the Conmebol’s independent disciplinary tribunal to disqualify its rival, and thus proclaim it champion of the continental tournament.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting held between Domínguez and the highest authorities of Boca and River, Boca President Daniel Angelici rebuked Domínguez’s statement, saying that he “will not accept to play any game.” The holding of the final is conditional to unfavorable rulings to Boca’s claims.
Moreover, he indicated that, should the tribunal’s ruling not be favorable to the team, they are willing to appeal and, if necessary, go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, an international quasi-judicial body established to settle disputes related to sport through arbitration. The problem is, this body certainly takes more than three months to issue a ruling, and both the Conmebol and the FIFA need a champion before then to represent South America in the Club World Cup, set to begin in the United Arab Emirates on December 12th.
According to press, the first instance ruling from the disciplinary tribunal would be issued on Thursday.
In parallel to the tribunal’s deliberations, Conmebol authorities have already began considering possible venues to host the game. According to La Nación, they are: Miami, Qatar, or Asunción. One further option could be in Italy as the city government of Genoa has written to both clubs offering to host the second leg of the final, in recognition of the role immigrants from the city played in forming both Argentine clubs.
The second leg of the final was suspended on Saturday after several Boca players were injured when stones and bottles hurled by River supporters smashed the windows of the bus taking them to the stadium, and tear gas deployed by police to disperse the fans inadvertently seeped in and affected those on board. Boca’s captain, Pablo Pérez, was taken to the hospital after glass from the bus window was found in his eye.