River confirmed 2018 Copa Libertadores winners after CAS dismisses Boca appeal

The Court of Arbitration of Sport has dismissed Boca Juniors' appeal to have River Plate stripped of their title due to crowd violence that forced the cancellation of the orignal second leg of the 2018 final.

River confirmed 2018 Copa Libertadores winners after CAS dismiss Boca appeal
Juan Carlos Hidalgo EFE

River Plate have finally been confirmed champions of the 2018 Copa Libertadores after an appeal put forward by fellow finalists Boca Juniors was dismissed by the Court of Arbitration of Sport.

Boca appealed to have their city rivals stripped of the title due to crowd violence which stopped the second leg from being played at River’s El Monumental stadium in November 2018.

Officials decided to abandon the game after Boca’s team bus was attacked on the way to the stadium, which resulted in injuries to some of its players. The second leg was eventually rescheduled for Madrid, where River went on to win the tie on 5-3 aggregate after the first leg had finished 2-2.

Following more than a year of deliberation, the CAS found River to be liable for the violent scenes outside its stadium in November 18, but ruled that disqualification from the 2018 Copa Libertadores title would have been an excessive punishment.

“The CAS panel found that while River Plate had violated the CONMEBOL disciplinary regulations it could not order the disqualification of River Plate from the 2018 Copa Libertadores since such sanction would have been excessive in the circumstances of the case,” the court said in a statement. 

River Plate celebrate after winning the Copa Libertadores 208 title in Madrid in December, 2018.

River must play two Copa games behind closed doors, CAS rules

While River will not be stripped of their 2018 title, the CAS has ruled that the Argentinean club must play its next two Copa Libertadores home games behind closed doors.

“The Panel considered that the appropriate sanction to be imposed on River Plate for the bus attack was two matches behind closed doors, to be applied to River Plate's next two home matches in the Copa Libertadores,” said the CAS.

After opening their 2020 Copa Libertadores Group D campaign away to Ecuador’s LDU Quito on March 5 in, River’s first home game will be played against Peruvian club Binacional on March 11, with their second home fixture scheduled for April 23 against Sao Paolo. Both of those home fixtures will now be played behind closed doors following the CAS sanction.