Copa Libertadores: Boca Juniors and River Plate to meet on Tuesday to decide date for postponed second leg

The match was called off for the second time in 24 hours

Miguel Delaney
Buenos Aires
Sunday 25 November 2018 19:13
Boca vs River Plate bus attack

Conmebol will meet on Tuesday with the chairmen of River Plate and Boca Juniors at their headquarters in Asuncion to decide when the postponed second leg of the Copa Libertadores final will take place, as federation president Alejandro Dominguez described the fans responsible for this “disgrace” as “misfits”.

The match was called off for the second time in 24 hours, when it became clear that Boca players were not in a sufficient condition to play and guarantee “sporting integrity” after the attack on their bus en route to the Monumental stadium on Saturday.

Dominguez said the entire situation called for self-reflection. The recently-installed Conmebol chief had initially ratified a decision for the game to go ahead, only for Boca to make a presentation to the continental body arguing the game should be played under equal conditions.

Captain Pablo Perez had suffered an eye injury in the attack, but Dominguez later said on television that another “four or five” players were injured, meaning they simply could not guarantee equal conditions or the spectacle “that everyone had come to see”.

The possible restaging of the final has been complicated by the fact the G20 meet in Buenos Aires on Thursday, not to mention the clubs’ domestic fixtures. It needs to be played before any South American champion travels to UAE for the Fifa Club World Cup on 10 December.

“The mentality at the moment is this is a disgrace that we’re talking about a situation like this, because of a few misfits, for what is a game of football,” Dominguez said. “I’m not going to take the focus of the events that have taken place, it’s a disgrace. The image that it has given the world, because of the fault of a few misfits, is wrong.

“This is not football. It’s not what any of us want. Football is the opposite. It is athletes, players, professionals, that live, work, give good examples on and off the pitch, that have families, responsibilities, and live the football that makes us all so passionate.

“Now, we have to analyse this from the perspective of what is sporting and fair. There is a team who have been injured, and we are here for the good of the spectacle, so that when the starting of XI of both clubs enter the field, they go without any excuse, that match is played on a level playing field, equal conditions.

“We believe in the spectacle, we believe in giving a good message, we believe of the need to give a signal that the organisation is putting up a great sporting spectacle, that it generates equality of conditions and thereby confidence, and that there is no excuse about the goal that makes the difference, so Conmebol have decided to that in these circumstances, there is not sporting equality, there are no guarantees of the spectacle that both teams have come to this place with all the sporting merits, because they’ve been better than all the teams played, they’ve reached the final because they’ve been superior to all the teams they’ve played.

“In these conditions, we want to guarantee that a sense of fair play is important to us, that football is important to us, we believe we have to give the conditions so that both clubs have the time to recuperate, and from that we postpone the game, and the presidents of both clubs are going to meet in the offices of Conmebol in Asuncion and decide the date and time of the second leg. And they’re going to play.

The second leg of the Copa Libertadores final was called off hours before the scheduled kick-off

“The organisation is going to be self-critical, but everyone has to be self-critical. It’s not a situation where we can look elsewhere for faults. The intolerance, the violence, we cannot leave these aside and take the responsibility for. We have to be self-critical. I believe football is happiness, is passion, is family. That’s what we have to prioritise. And we will use the time to consider all of this and, when we play again, that the people go to enjoy a game of football.

“This is not the Argentina we love, we know, it’s not the majority. This is not Argentine society, these are misfits. We have to use this time to give a good sign to the world we can do things well.”

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