CONMEBOL, River Plate and Boca Juniors met in Paraguay to determine the fate of the 2018 Copa Libertadores final second leg, and some decisions were made.
If you found yourself here looking for all the news from Wednesday 28th, you can find everything that happened today including increasing rumours that the game will be played in Doha on December 8th.
River vs Boca: Copa Libertadores final second leg to be played outside Argentina: how the decision was made
Right, we're going to wrap up this live feed. To recap: After South American Football Confederation chief Alejandro Rodríguez met with River Plate and Boca Juniors' presidents, Rodolfio D'Onofrio and Daniel Angelici, at CONMEBOL's headquarters in Paraguay, the organisation has confirmed that the sides' rearranged Copa Libertadores final second leg is set to be played on 8 or 9 December, at a yet-to-be determined venue OUTSIDE of Argentina. However, Boca are insistent that they do not want the return leg to go ahead, and have formally requested River's disqualification from the tournament. It all now comes down to CONMEBOL's Disciplinary Panel, who are expected to decide River's fate - and whether or not the game will be played - by Thursday. Thanks for reading!
According to TNT's Hernán Castillo, some of the players who were particularly strong with their public criticism of CONMEBOL in the wake of the weekend's events could be banned from the second leg, with the men under the microscope thought to be Carlos Tévez, Ramón Ábila and Pablo Pérez.
So all those fans who have been told by River to hold on to their tickets from Saturday look like either having a 15-hour drive (or a one-and-a-half-hour flight) to Asunción to go to a stadium they won't all fit into, or having to sort themselves out with a nine-hour flight to Miami, where they probably will. If they make it there.
The two biggest stadiums in Asunción are the 45,000-capacity General Pablo Rojas, and the Defensores del Chaco, which holds 42,000. The Hard Rock Stadium would appear to be the chief contender in Miami, and, capacity-wise, its 65,000 is more in line with El Monumental's.
"Everybody loses", is the phrase on people's lips in Argentina, says my colleague Marcos Duran. It's a final that will certainly live long in the memory, but not for the right reasons.
The presidents of CONMEBOL and Boca have both spoken, but we're yet to hear from River chief Rodolfo D'Onofrio. He's set to talk to the media shortly - and, according to a report on Radio La Red, he's hopping mad at the decision to move the second leg away from El Monumental.
So, with CONMEBOL confirming that the second leg won't held in Argentina, here's AS journalist Aritz Gabilondo on where it is likely to be played: "The city that appears to be best placed to host the match is Asunción, although it must first sort out the necessary security arrangements with the local law-enforcement authorities. Other cities are also being tipped to host the game, though, particularly Miami. What is certain is that the match will not be played behind closed doors, something that there had been doubts about."
The Disciplinary Panel's ruling is expected for Thursday, says Argentinian FA chief Claudio Tapia.
Angelici: "I hope that the Disciplinary Panel takes enough time to see all the evidence. We hope that a punishment is handed down that says loud and clear that violence has no place in football."
"We are not in the right frame of mind to be able to play the final," Angelici continues. "I don't agree with CONMEBOL setting a new date. I really want to thank all the teams in South America who have shown Boca Juniors their support and solidarity."
"We think we have enough to have River disqualified," says Angelici, who then goes on to add: "We know the rules and we know our rights. We want to say to all Argentinians that football is a beautiful game, and there shouldn't be any violence. Boca will exhaust every administrative avenue open to them."
Boca president Daniel Angelici is now speaking to the media. "We're don't agree with playing any game, but we're going to wait for the decision [of the CONMEBOL Disciplinary Panel on the club's request for River Plate to be disqualified]. We believe that the precedents are there for a ruling in Boca's favour. Once we have the verdict, and if it does not find in our favour, we'll go to CONMEBOL's appeals panel, and if that ruling also goes against, we'll take our case higher up the chain."
And, as Domínguez noted, it all remains subject to the ruling of CONMEBOL's Disciplinary Panel on Boca's request that River be booted out of the competition.
CONMEBOL's statement says the new venue will be decided "as soon as possible". Just how soon "as soon as possible" is is anyone's guess.
So, a reminder of the apparent options outside of Argentina: Asunción appears to be the frontrunner (and might explain why they're still not sure whether it'll be 8 or 9 December, given that the Saturday appears to be made problematic by a national religious festival). There's also Miami, the UAE, Qatar, Genoa... am I forgetting anyone?
"The game will be scheduled subject to the ruling of the [CONMEBOL] Disciplinary Panel [on what action to take against River, with proceedings opened against the club and Boca formally requesting their opponents' disqualification]. If the game is played, it will be on Saturday 8 or Sunday 9 December, OUTSIDE of Argentina. We feel that the conditions are not right for the match to be played in Argentina."
"Winning or losing isn't a matter of life or death," Domínguez continues. "Football is a sport that has many values bound up in it, and one of those values is respecting your opponent."
CONMEBOL president Alejandro Domínguez is now talking to the media. "We have met with the president of the Argentinian Football Association, the president of the Paraguayan Football Association and the presidents of the two clubs. What we went through at the weekend isn't football. It's a disease that has to be wiped out. Violence has no place in football; passion should not equal violence."
We have news from CONMEBOL HQ! A statement has just been released announcing that the game will be played on 8 or 9 December... with the venue still to be decided! However, it will be OUTSIDE OF ARGENTINA, the communique says.
That'll be one for CONMEBOL's Disciplinary Panel. Meanwhile...
We have now gained access to the below document, signed by club president Daniel Angelici and club secretary Christian Gribaudo, in which Boca Juniors formally request River Plate's disqualification from the Copa Libertadores.
La Nación Deportiva journalist Alejandro Casar is now reporting that three possible venues are on the table in River and Boca's meeting with CONMEBOL: Miami, Asunción... and Qatar!
According to TyC Sports, Boca Juniors remain insistent that the second leg shouldn't go ahead. "Boca are adopting a stubborn stance and are asking for disciplinary/sporting sanctions against River," the journalist Tato Aguilera says. "They won't agree to holding the game in any country, stadium, etc, because they don't want to play it."
TyC Sports: "THE FINAL WON'T BE IN ARGENTINA"
Just a 15-hour pootle along the motorway from Buenos Aires.
AS journalist Aritz Gabilondo had reported earlier today that Asunción was in the running to hold the game if it were to be moved abroad, along with Miami.
Here is River Plate president Rodolfo D'Onofrio arriving at CONMEBOL HQ a short while ago, by the way.
Indeed, Boca president Daniel Angelici has said that the club have "submitted evidence" in support of the game not being played. According to TN Todo Noticias, Boca have a video that shows a spot of violence by River fans taking place inside the stadium.
The Paraguay national team play their home games at the stadium, while (Wikipedia tells me; it's been a faithful companion today) Club Olimpia, Club Nacional and Club Guaraní also turn out there from time to time.
According to said report, the chosen stadium would be the 42,000-capacity Estadio Defensores del Chaco.
That report coming out of Argentina has now been fleshed out, and it is being claimed that CONMEBOL want the game to be played in Asunción on Sunday 9 December.
If it's played outside of Argentina, where would that be, you ask? Well, as discussed earlier, the United Arab Emirates has been mooted, while the Italian city of Genoa has put itself forward as a potential venue.
Reports in Argentina now say that CONMEBOL don't want the second leg to be played behind closed doors, but are minded to move the game from El Monumental and take it to a venue outside of the country.
Boca president Daniel Angelici has now arrived in Paraguay. His River and CONMEBOL counterparts are already in situ, presumably scoffing all the canapés as we speak. That'll learn him for getting there last.
And the statement concludes: "It should be underlined that the decisions made at today's meeting will be of a purely sporting nature and are independent of any rulings handed down by CONMEBOL's Disciplinary Panel, a body which is independent of this administration." Curiously this final paragraph no longer says that the resolutions reached in today's talks are subject to what is later decided by the Disciplinary Panel.
The new statement goes on to say: "In the meeting, we will discuss the sporting aspects related to the rescheduling of the second leg of second leg of the 2018 CONMEBOL Copa Libertadores, which was originally scheduled for 24 November 2018 and was postponed on the agreement of the three parties and with the backing of the [CONMEBOL] Board."
So. There are a couple of changes in the revised statement, although essentially it's saying the same thing. Firstly, they've added another paragraph to say that CONMEBOL board members Claudio Tapia and Robert Harrison will also be present at the meeting.
And now they've changed the statement! Stand by...
So, that's the statement. The take-homes are... 1: Meeting confirmed for 11:00 Paraguayan time (15:00 CET). And 2: The only issues on the table are when the game will be played and where the game will be played. Any potential action to be taken against River over Saturday's incidents will be decided later on by CONMEBOL's independent Disciplinary Panel.
"It should be underlined that the decisions made at today's meeting will be of a purely sporting nature and are independent of and subject to any binding rulings handed down by CONMEBOL's Disciplinary Panel, a body which is independent of this administration, regarding the legal proceedings currently in process."
"The aim of the meeting is to determine on which date and at which venue the second leg of the 2018 CONMEBOL Copa Libertadores will be played, having originally been scheduled for 24 November 2018 and been postponed on the agreement of the three parties."
"The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) confirms that Mr Alejandro Domínguez, the President of CONMEBOL, will meet with Mr Daniel Angelici, President of Club Atlético Boca Juniors, and Rodolfo Donofrio, President of Club Atlético River Plate, today at 11:00 PYT".
And then there's Genoa, whose city council has offered up the Stadio Luigi Ferraris as a potential venue for the game. "We would be proud to welcome you to what, in a way, is your first home," Genoa's councillor for sport, Stefano Anzalone, said in a statement on Monday, in reference to the fact that both clubs have historical ties to the Italian city.
Given that the Club World Cup is to be played in the United Arab Emirates, the option of taking the game to the Gulf nation is said to be being contemplated. That way, the winners of the Libertadores would simply stay on in the UAE for the World Cup, which starts on 12 December and, for CONMEBOL's representatives, gets underway six days later.
And if the decision is made to play the game elswhere, the possibilities look to be endless...
As for where the second leg will be played, the plan appears to still be to play the match at River's El Monumental stadium - and with supporters in the stands. However, article 18 of CONMEBOL's statutes says that after events such as this weekend's, South American football's governing body is within its rights to order the game to be played behind closed doors or even move it to another venue.
As AS journalist Jorge Castro reported yesterday, the best-case scenario would be to schedule the game for 8 December, as it would give the winning team longer to recover from the final and to prepare for the Club World Cup - which, of course, the Copa Libertadores champions qualify for. South America's representatives begin their Club World Cup campaign at the semi-final stage, on 18 December. So playing the second leg on 11 or 12 December would seem to be pretty tight.
So, let's start with when the rearranged second leg could be played: in all, there are three dates that CONMEBOL are understood to be considering: Saturday 8, Tuesday 11 and Wednesday 12 December.
I guess it's only fitting that the meeting should be postponed.
Ah, hold on... We're now hearing that the meeting has been delayed by an hour. So it'll now be at 11:00 Paraguay time, 15:00 CET, it seems.
The president of the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL), Alejandro Domínguez, is to meet with the River and Boca club chiefs, Rodolfo D'Onofrio and Daniel Angelici, at CONMEBOL HQ in Paraguay at 10:00 local time (14:00 CET) and we'll be bringing you news of what comes out of those crunch talks as soon as we get it.
Good afternoon and welcome to our live coverage of today's decision on when and where the twice-postponed second leg of River Plate and Boca Juniors' Copa Libertadores final is to be held.
River vs Boca: CONMEBOL decision on Copa Libertadores final second leg | preview
The fate of the 2018 Copa Libertadores final between River Plate and Boca Juniors is to be decided today in a summit meeting at the headquarters of the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) in Paraguay.
Alejandro Domínguez, the president of CONMEBOL, is to hold talks with Rodolfo D'Onofrio and Daniel Angelici, his River and Boca counterparts, respectively. Ahead of a meeting that is scheduled to commmence at 10:00 local time (14:00 CET), D'Onofrio arrived in Paraguay yesterday, while Angelici was due to travel this morning.
After the tie's second leg was twice postponed at the weekend in the wake of an attack by River supporters on the Boca team bus, today's meeting will determine when the rearranged clash will take place, whether it will remain at Los Millonarios' El Monumental stadium or be moved to another venue, and whether the match will be played with fans present or behind closed doors.
Measures are also expected to be taken against River after CONMEBOL on Monday confirmed disciplinary proceedings against the club over Saturday's trouble, which saw three Boca players taken to hospital after members of their squad suffered cuts from broken glass and were affected by tear gas used by police.