The rearranged Copa Libertadores final second leg will take place at Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu on December 9 after an attack on Boca Juniors’ bus by River Plate fans in Buenos Aires caused it to be postponed.
Boca traveled across Buenos Aires on Saturday with the final all square at 2-2 after the opening game at La Bombonera, but their bus was showered with projectiles on the way to River’s El Monumental stadium, with some smashing windows of the vehicle.
Eventually the vehicle arrived at the ground, but Boca captain Pablo Perez and his teammate Gonzalo Lamardo were taken to hospital for assessment, while other players appeared to have been affected by the use of pepper spray.
After discussions that led to several delays, the game was eventually suspended for 24 hours until Sunday, but the game was postponed again as CONMEBOL accepted Boca players were in no condition to play.
Officials from the governing body, Boca and River all met in Asuncion, Paraguay this week to discuss the rearrangement.
Media reports suggested several potential new locations for the match, including the United Arab Emirates – where the winners will compete in the Club World Cup next month – and Genoa, Italy, a city which has a close bond with Buenos Aires.
But, shortly after Spanish president Pedro Sanchez insisted on Twitter that Spain was “ready” to host the game, CONMEBOL confirmed Madrid has been chosen as the location for the encounter.
CONMEBOL’s president Alejandro Dominguez announced the decision at a news conference on Thursday, with other proposed venues such as Asuncion and Doha missing out along with Genoa.
Genoa had made a public appeal to be granted the final, Argentina having quickly been ruled out due to the country soon hosting the G20 meeting of world leaders.
But the Bernabeu won out and Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales confirmed Madrid will be 100 percent ready to host the final.
“Without a doubt, we are prepared,” he said in a statement. “It is great news that we have received the confidence to welcome the celebration of this historic match and we will make all the efforts that are within our reach to be able to offer both CONMEBOL and a sister country such as Argentina optimal conditions to enjoy one of the best matches in the world.”
Boca president Daniel Angelici previously confirmed the club appealed to be awarded the Copa Libertadores title and would refuse to play any matches until this decision was made.
Although CONMEBOL’s Disciplinary Tribunal threw out their appeal on Thursday, Boca have seven days to take their case to the CONMEBOL Chamber of Appeals.
River will have to play two CONMEBOL-organised games behind closed doors as punishment for the attack on the bus, which left a number of Boca players requiring treatment.
The club will also be ordered to pay a $400,000 fine as part of their punishment.