BUENOS AIRES — The most anticipated Copa Libertadores final in decades might not be decided on the field after all.
The South American soccer confederation, Conmebol, will decide Tuesday whether to disqualify River Plate and award the title to its archrival, Boca Juniors; to force the second leg to be played behind closed doors; or to move the match to a neutral stadium.
The first leg of the final, at Boca’s La Bombonera stadium, ended in a 2-2 tie.
The second leg, originally scheduled for Saturday, was postponed after River Plate fans attacked the Boca Juniors team bus near River’s stadium, pelting it with rocks, bottles and wood, shattering some of its windows. Several players were injured by broken glass; others had trouble breathing because of the tear gas and pepper spray used by the police to quell the fan violence.
After fans returned to the stadium on Sunday, Conmebol postponed the match indefinitely because, it said, it was obvious the Boca team was not fit to play what Argentines have been hyping as “the final of the century.”
The fate of the South American club title now rests with administrators at Conmebol, which oversees the competition.
History does not favor River. In 2015, Conmebol disqualified Boca Juniors in the tournament’s Round of 16 after River Plate players were attacked with pepper spray by fans during a game at Boca’s stadium. Boca Juniors is now pressing for the same sanctions for its rival.
“Any sanction different from the one applied to Boca would bring a clear and unfair discrepancy,” Boca wrote to Conmebol on Monday.
River’s president, Rodolfo D’Onofrio, said his club could not be blamed for public security breaches, and accused his Boca counterpart, Daniel Angelici, of breaking his word after promising to play.
“I’m struggling to believe he cannot keep his promise,” D’Onofrio fumed on Radio Mitre. “We signed a document and we shook hands. Then I find out he’s petitioned Conmebol and asked for them to be declared champions.”