River Plate reject Copa Libertadores Madrid final plan
Argentine top flight soccer team River Plate have rejected CONMEBOL's plan to play the rescheduled Copa Libertadores final second leg in Madrid.
The original fixture between bitter rivals Boca Juniors and River was moved more than 6,000 miles from the latter’s Estdadio Monumental in Buenos Aires to the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in the Spanish capital after the game was twice delayed last weekend. An attack on the Boca team bus by River Plate fans on 25th November left the players unable to play on that date or the hastily rearranged kick-off 24 hours later.
The incident outside River’s stadium saw a number of players taken to hospital suffering cuts from the bus’ broken glass windows and suffering the effects of tear gas used by police to disperse fans.
In the aftermath, Conmebol, the governing body of South American soccer, rearranged the second leg for 9th December in Madrid.
But River Plate have now rejected the proposal to move the final of the Copa Libertadores, the equivalent of Europe’s UEFA Champions League, to Spain, saying the decision was ‘incomprehensible’ and ‘unjustifiably’ denied fans who had attended the original match.
‘River Plate reject the change of venue,’ the club said in a statement. ‘The club understands that the decision (to play in Madrid) … adversely affects those who bought tickets and also upsets the idea of equal conditions by taking away home advantage.'
‘Argentine football as a whole and the Argentine Football Association cannot and should not allow a handful of violent [fans] to impede the Superclásico taking place in our country.’
Conmebol has allocated both teams 25,000 tickets and the game marks the first time that the final of the Copa Libertadores will be played outside of South America.
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