Stay up to date with all the latest news on the Copa Libertadores final in Madrid and Boca's protest to have River disqualified.
Copa Libertadores live online: updates on postponed game
And here is AS editor Alfredo Relaño on the decision to hold the game at the Bernabéu, and his take on those who see the move as an affront to the competition's very name.
Here's AS's Argentinian journalist Verónica Brunati on the opposition that both River Plate and Boca Juniors are showing to the decision to play the second leg of their Copa Libertadores final in the Spanish capital.
However, it's fair to say that neither club is all that happy to be going to the Spanish capital: River Plate have announced that they're to fight the decision to move the second leg from their home stadium, El Monumental, while Boca Juniors remain intent on having their opponents thrown out of the competition altogether over the bus attack that caused the postponement of the originally scheduled game.
Said tickets are set to cost between 80 and 300 euros, with the distribution expected to be as follows: 5,000 for River, 5,000 for Boca, 50,000 for Argentinian residents in Spain, 5,000 for the organisers, and 10,000 on public sale.
Good morning and welcome back to our live coverage of all the reaction to the decision to stage River Plate and Boca Juniors' postponed Copa Libertadores final second leg at the Bernabéu in Madrid. The game is scheduled for 20:30 CET on Sunday 9 December, and the "mad scramble" for tickets is among the headlines on this morning's AS front page:
- if the organisation goes well, Spain may get some brownie points for their World Cup 2030 bid
- Boca are staying at the hotel usually used by the Argentine national team; River at that used by Barça when in town
- The Argentine police have shared information with Spanish authorities of those people banned from stadia
- There is no doubt that the majority of those in the stadium will be from Argentina
We're hearing more news to come out of the meeting. Remember the 'hold on to your tickets River fans as you'll need them for the rearranged fixture' line? Well, you can forget about that. They're now just a piece of paper with some redundant information about a non-existant game. Silver lining...the dirty thieves that robbed fans of their tickets as they exited the stadium. Ha!
Boca have released a statement saying that Pinto Ruiz and Del Valle (one of the most prestigious international sports law firms in in the world) to defend the rights of the club. If successful, the game will be awarded to Boca and there will be no action in the Bernabéu on Sunday 9th.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid are apparently being inundated with requests for tickets and media accreditations, with a club source saying that even the biggest Champions League games to have been staged at the Bernabéu are nothing compared to the hype surrounding River-Boca.
A few other logistical problems to be addressed ahead of the game. The final will take place on Sunday, December 9, on the final day of a three-day national holiday in Spain for Constitution Day on December 6. Madrid receives its highest number of visitors in these dates. In 2017, 600,000 visitors came to the capital, and the hotel occupancy rate was over 80%.
The latest bit of news on the ticket situation is good news for River fans with a ticket to the postponed game in El Monumental: those tickets will remain valid for those supporters who make the trip to Madrid and present their credentials at the Bernabéu turnstiles.
We're hearing now that the cheapest tickets for the game will be 80 euros, with the most expensive anything up to 300 euros. Nothing official yet but that's the word around the camp fire.
Diego Maradona has had a typically forthright say on the whole Copa Libertadores situation and the Conmebol authorities. Here's an excerpt we can print on a family forum.... "The truth is, they are a scourge on the face of football. These guys are not fit to hold these positions. Don't try and tell me that Chiqui Tapia, is in a position to talk about football."
There isn't a fat lot of information about how tickets will be made available for the game, but what there is can be digested here.
River Plate have also announced that they will be appealing against the decision to play the game in Madrid. "Club Atletico River Plate informs that it will make the legal proposals and the pertinent appeals in relation to the decisions of the South American Football Confederation [Conmebol] and its Disciplinary Court," the club said in a statement.
The latest news from the Copa Libertadores final: Boca are to appeal against Conmebol's decision not to boot River out of the tournament, so this may have a little way to run yet before the ball rolls off the spot in Madrid.
Meanwhile Boca are going to train at the Spanish FA’s grounds at Las Rozas just outside Madrid. They arrive in the Spanish capital on Tuesday.
River will arrive in Spain on Monday, and according to our sources they’ve reached an agreement with Real Madrid to train at their Valdebebas training facilities ahead of the final on Sunday 9 December.
Our colleagues on the paper side of things have Friday's front page out...
Cheapest direct flight we can find right now flying Buenos Aires to Madrid, with Iberia, leaving Friday 7 December and jetting home Monday 10 is €2,708.04. Journey time of 11 hours or so . You can do it for just over €1,000 with a stop-over (15 hours minimum).
In case you missed it, CONMEBOL's disciplinary tribunal voted 2-1 in favour of River Plate. The Chilean chap was apparently in favour of Boca, while Venezuela and Paraguay backed River.
Remember that in addition to the issue of the game being rearranged to be played at the Bernabéu, Boca Juniors are still rather keen on the whole “kick naughty bus-smashing River Plate out and give us the trophy now” concept. Following that line they are going to appeal Conmebol’s decision not to do just that.
Here’s a bit of news. It turns out the Spanish FA will be in charge of the tickets, meaning they get to decide how and where to sell them.
RFEF have released a statement. Luis Rubiales: "Without any doubt, we are prepared for a game of this dimension and significance. It's excellent news that we have been given a vote of confidence to stage this historic game and we will do everything in our power to offer both CONMEBOL and a fellow nation like Argentina the best possible conditions to enjoy one of the best games in world football".
Just to recap: CONMEBOL have confirmed that the 2018 Copa Libertadores final return leg between River Plate and Boca Juniors will be staged in Madrid, Spain at the Santiago Bernabéu. The game will kick off at 20:30 hours CET on Sunday 9th December.
Domínguez with words of warning to both sets of ultras who disrupted the return leg at El Monumental: "Don't even dream about getting a ticket for the match. There is no place for them. This is the moment to show the world that in this sport, the good guys always win".
Ticket allocation and distribution for Sunday's final will be managed solely by CONMEBOL.
Domínguez: "The administration has elected to hold the Copa Libertadores final return leg, in front of both sets of supporters in Madrid, at the Santiago Bernabéu on Sunday 9th 20:30 hours local time".
BERNABEÚ CONFIRMED AS THE VENUE FOR THE FINAL by CONMEBOL president Alejandro Domínguez: "Those of us who know the Beautiful Game, know that it only about winning or losing - not killing or dying for. I would like to begin by thanking Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, Infantino, Scheferin and my good friend Florentino Pérez".
CONMEBOL announce that the 2018 Copa Libertadoes final return leg will be rescheduled and played at an alternative venue to El Monumental. Boca Juniors have seven days to put together an appeal, which Daniel Angelici is expected to do.
River Plate served 400,000 dollar fine and a two-game stadium ban.
River Plate to be hit with an economic fine and a stadium ban for events in the build-up to the return leg which was postponed.
Both clubs will receive the same ticket allocation, meaning River will effectively lose their home advantage.
Boca Juniors will travel to Madrid on Tuesday, according to reports coming out of Argentina.
Qatar Airways proposed holding the final in Doha, but that option didn't appeal to CONMEBOL, then Paris was mentioned but the South American Cofederation preferred Madrid for the frequency of flights between the Spanish capital and Buenos Aires, the language and the large expat community installed in Madrid and elsewhere in Spain.
We're hearing CONMEBOL's statement has been completed but the fine print is being meticulously reviewed to ensure nothing can be misconstrued.
The match officials for the game, including the VAR team, will be the same as those designated for the postponed return leg at El Monumental - Uruguayan ref Andrés Cunha will be in charge at the Bernabéu.
A statement from CONMEBOL was due at 20:00 hours. Over two hours later and still no word...
In May 2010, the Bernabéu hosted the Champions League final between Inter Milan and Bayern Munich with José Mourinho's side running out 2-0 winners. Atlético de Madrid's Wanda Metropolitano stadium will stage this year's final.
River Plate are deciding whether to fly out to Madrid on Monday or Tuesday. After flights have been booked they will reserve a hotel.
Both Boca Juniors and River Plate have been pre-season guests in the Spanish capital. Boca lost their friendly against Atlético by 1-0, Fernando Torres finding the target, in the 2003 Villa de Madrid - the last edition of the tournament to be played. Later that same summer, River Plate were invited to take part in the Trofeo Bernabéu but were beaten 3-1. Curiously, the author of a brilliant opening goal for the hosts was none other than current coach Santiago Solari, scoring against his former club - he sheepishly refused to celebrate...
In Madrid stadium employees and stewards are being informed that they will be expected to call into work on the evening of Sunday 9th from 19:30, an hour before kick-off.
Not too many in Argentina are in favour of staging the return leg in Europe. CA Huracan coach Gustavo Alfaro today: "We're destroying football. We're complicit in showing that we cannot organize a River-Boca and that's bad news for Argentinean football. It's the biggest game in our country and they're taking it away from us - what next? It's like saying, as from tomorrow in Argentina you can't dance tango".
Bank Holiday weekend here in Madrid (Día de la Constitución on the 6th, La Inmaculada Concepción on the 8th) so flights from Buenos Aires to Barajas, at short notice, won't come cheap - 1500 euros upwards...
TyC Sports saying that El Muñeco Gallardo is currently holding a meeting with River Plate players and coaching staff to inform them of travel arrangements - the day they will fly out to Madrid, hotel, training... etc.
Gonvernment agrees. Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez has given the green light for River-Boca to be played at the Bernabéu, according to ABC.
We're still waiting for CONMEBOL's statement, which should be out in a few minutes' time.
The last three Copa del Rey finals have been held in Madrid but none of them at the Bernabéu. The Vicente Calderón staged the 2016 and 2017 finals and the Wanda Metropolitano was elected for last season's final between Barcelona and Sevilla.
The winner of the 2018 Copa Libertadores, Boca or River, will remain in Madrid after the final and fly out to Doha for the Club World Cup directly from Spain. The eventual South American champions will make their debut at the tournament at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium on 18 December, at the semi-final stage; Real Madrid will be action at the same time in the other semi-final in Abu Dhabi.
Spain's Interior Ministry is currently debating security issues relating to staging the final in Madrid. Government officials and Madrid Police met with FIFA and CONMEBOL executives earlier this evening when the proposal to hold the game at the Bernabéu was put forward. The RFEF are awaiting a formal agreement, signed by FIFA, UEFA and CONMEBOL with an agreement 90% in place.
More logistics are being finalized. Diario AS understands that Boca Juniors will train at the Ciudad del Fútbol - the RFEF's headquarters in Las Rozas, while River Plate will use Real Madrid's training facilities in Valdebebas.
We are expecting confirmation from CONMEBOL in just over a quarter of an hour - 16:00 hours ART (20:00 hours here in Spain).
Well, well, well. Boca Juniors have booked a hotel in Madrid. The xeneizes have reserved 50 rooms in a 5-star hotel on the Castellana, close to the Santiago Bernabéu.
After talks between Pedro Sánchez and Mauricio Macri it seems that an agreement has been reach. Confirmation expected in a few minutes...
The Bernabéu has, for several years, been one of the 25 stadia on UEFA's list of Elite 5 star football grounds, capable of staging a major final. It meets all of the criteria demanded by UEFA and FIFA, such as adequate transport connections, hotels and parking, health and safety... etc
Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez will discuss the issue of holding the final at the Bernabéu with Argentina president Mauricio Macris this evening. Macri hopes the game can still go ahead in Argentina but time is running out and the decision to stage the return leg in Madrid is expected to be confirmed tonight.
There is a substantial Argentinean expat community in Madrid - as in the rest of Spain, with around 60,000 believed to be registered with Spanish authorities in the capital alone.
TyC Sports are reporting that the match will be made available for fans from both clubs. Ticket sales will be managed by Real Madrid's own booking system in conjunction with the RFEF.
Conversations between Spanish and Argentinean diplomats continue as Argentina president Mauricio Macri insists that the game can still be played in Argentina.
Reports coming from France about a late proposal from the FFF to stage the final in Paris with two venues on offer: Stade de France and Parc des Princes.
If Bernabeu is confirmed by CONMEBOL, it will be the first stadium to host the World Cup final, Euros final, Champions League and Copa Libertadores final.
CONMEBOL didn't want the Copa Libertadores to leave the continent but FIFA were the ones pushing for it to be played elsewhere.
BWIN, a Real Madrid sponsor have tweeted that it's official! Real Madrid will host the game.
According to TyC, Paris Saint Germain are making a late bid to host the game. Stade de France would be the venue if they can convince the powers that be.
River Plate have fought until the end. They want the game to be played in their home stadium, the Monumental, but CONMEBOL and FIFA are firm in their decision. They don't want it played in Argentina.
CONMEBOL decision coming out imminently.
Reports in Argentina now starting to agree with AS exclusive that the game will be played at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Daniel Angelici has confirmed to Alejandro Dominguez that they will play the game even if the decision of their attempt to get the game awarded to them is negative.
Police are meeting with the government and with Real Madrid right now to assure situation is safe to play. CONMEBOL representatives also there.
The final will be at 20:45 in Madrid.
They are preparing the document that will certify the final being in Madrid. It will come out in the next few hours. The club, FIFA, CONMEBOL, and the Spanish federation are all in agreement.
Waiting for the 'okay' from the government and the ministry of education and sport. A Spanish ref will take charge also.
Game will be played at 16:30 Argentinian time.
Agreement made! Game will be played in Bernabeu on December 9th.
River Plate have played at the Santiago Bernabu five times but Boca Juniors have played just twice in the past.
The World Cup final in 1982, various Champions League finals, and now the Copa Libertadores final? Seems it might be.
But Guido Bercovich says there is a strong possibility that it will be played in Europe.
TyC Sports now saying that CONMEBOL don't want to play in Europe and that Real Madrid are pushing their case to FIFA and Gianni Infantino.
According to AS journalist Joaquín Maroto, a deal to see the game played at the Bernabéu is being viewed favourably by Conmebol, Fifa and the Spanish Football Federation.
Well goodness gracious us... now, according to La Sexta, the Bernabéu could be in line to host the Copa Libertadores final!
Camp Nou is still reportedly being explored as a possible venue. Spain has the third-largest Argentine diaspora in the world, behind the USA and Chile, so there is some sense to the proposal.
And here are a few million reasons why both sides may look favourably on Qatar's proposal. There's also the obvious logistical boon for the winners of being in situ for the Club World Cup, which kicks off on December 12. Qatar will split of a pot of $11.5 million between the two sides, with Conmebol also getting a share of that to swell its coffers. River will also receive $2.5 million in compensation if the game is not played at El Monumental, which seems increasingly unlikely. In addition, the winner of the Libertadores will pocket $6m in prize money with the runners-up getting $3m.
The latest emerging from Argentina is that Boca president Daniel Angelici is in a meeting with the Boca players and staff... we don't know what the purpose of the get-together is but it seems likely that they will be hammering out a decision as to their stance on whether to play or not if ordered to do so by Conmebol. Boca have officially stated that they are on strike until such time as the Copa Libertadores title is awarded to them.
Wow.... apparently Camp Nou has been put forward as a possible venue for the rescheduled game! A "group of businessmen" has reportedly suggested Barça's stadium stage the match, but as the city derby against Espanyol is on Saturday December 8, we rather fancy the Barcelona city government may not be too enthusiastic about the prospect.
Reports coming in from Argentinean broadacster TN now that the game will go ahead, "100 percent", on December 8 or 9 and outside of Argentina.
There is, of course, something of a precedent for Boca's petition to have River disqualified from the tournament. In 2015, Conmebol disqualified Boca at the round of 16 stage after River players were attacked with pepper spray in the tunnel of La Bombonera. River were leading 1-0 on aggregate at the time and the game was suspended before the second half after the incident. As Boca have noted in a statement to Conmebol: “Any sanction different from the one applied to Boca would bring a clear and unfair discrepancy."
And a few River fans couldn't resist... a few placards in the stadium read "Thanks for playing, Gimnasia."
River were knocked out of the Copa Argentina by Gimnasia La Plata on Wednesday, the first time Los Millonarios have been defeated in the domestic cup competition since 2014-15. That means that if the Copa Libertadores final goes ahead, River's only route into next year's tournament will be to beat Boca.
In a bit of good news for Boca, midfielder Pablo Pérez has been discharged from hospital following the attack on Boca's bus. However, he will not be fit to play any part in the Primera División match against Independiente scheduled for Sunday. Defenders Julio Buffarini and Leonardo Jara were also injured during the trouble last weekend and are unlikely to feature in the squad.
Meanwhile, Argentinean media outlet TyC Sports reports that Conmebol will pull out all the stops to at least stage the game in South America, or as close as possible, with Asunción, Medellín and Miami currently among the potential host cities.
It has just been confirmed that Argentinean president Mauricio Macri will meet with his Fifa counterpart Gianni Infantino today in a final attempt to ensure the game is staged in Argentina.
As things stand, in a nutshell, Boca have asked that the game be awarded to them and River have filed a counter-argument against being disqualified and ceding the tie, and the title, to their Buenos Aires rivals. A decision on whether to disqualify River is expected today, and if that does not come to pass, it will then be decided where and when to stage the fixture, with Doha - the venue for the Club World Cup in which the eventual winner of the Libertadores will compete - the frontrunner at the moment with a proposed date of December 8.
The issue has been rumbling on for some time now after the match was postponed last weekend when the Boca team bus was attacked en route to River's El Monumental stadium, leading to the supsension of the game. All of yesterday's developments are available here.
Keep up to date with all the latest news from the Copa Libertadores final second leg fixture between River Plate and Boca Juniors as Conmebol are set to decide today where the game will be played, and when.