December 4 – As the search for a solution to the contentious Copa Libertadores second leg rumbles on, River Plate coach Marcelo Gallardo (pictured) has accused Conmebol of “robbing the fans” with its decision to move the twice postponed fixture to Madrid.
Conmebol came up with Real Madrid’s Bernabeu stadium as a compromise following the assault on the Boca team bus that left injured several players and plunged South America’s most prestigious club fixture into disgrace.
Both sets of supporters are to be given an equal allocation of 25,000 tickets for the match in the Spanish capital even though originally away fans were barred from both legs. Boca were held 2-2 in the first leg when River Plate fans were barred.
River Plate have already slammed the decision to switch the most important club fixture in the South American calendar to Europe as “incomprehensible” and now Gallardo has added his voice to the criticism describing the move as a “total disgrace”.
“We have lost home advantage,” said Gallardo. “Some day we are going to rethink what happened and we will remember it as a total disgrace. Our preparations have changed. We are going to play 10,000 kilometres away. The Copa Libertadores of America. They’ve robbed the fans.”
Only 5,000 tickets will be allowed to be sold to fans inside Argentina in order to prevent the infamous barra bravas violent organised fan groups from travelling.
Argentina president Mauricio Macri, a former president of Boca Juniors, said he hoped the international focus on the debacle would force a change in attitude.
“This should cause us all to reflect deeply on what happened,” he said. “International football authorities can’t tell us that we can’t finish a football match in our country again.”
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