October 22 – South American football governing body Conmebol has confirmed that the 2020 Copa Libertadores final will still be staged in Santiago amid growing fears over the social unrest engulfing the Chilean capital.
Conmebol has played down fears that its flagship final could be moved from Santiago as Chileans have taken to the streets initially to protest against a hike in metro fares, but in a demonstration that has quickly turned into larger unrest over living costs and inequality in the country.
The number of people killed has risen to 11, Santiago Governor Karla Rubilar said on Monday. A state of emergency has been imposed in Santiago and is to be extended to cities in the Chile’s north and south.
Conmebol’s Copa Libertadores final is slated for November 23. “CONMEBOL reaffirms its commitment to stage the Copa Libertadores final in Santiago,” said Conmebol in a statement. “Our analysis will continue and the security of the clubs, players, fans and media will be taken into consideration so that football will be the only focus of attention.”
Interior minister Andres Chadwick told a news conference that a decision to prolong the emergency measures – including a curfew around Santiago – came amid an “escalation of violence and vandalism”.
It is the first time that the Copa Libertadores will be decided by a single final, the competition having dropped its old home-and-away format. This week the semi-final stage concludes with Flamengo hosting Gremio at the Maracana in an all-Brazilian affair and Buenos Aires siblings River Plate and Boca Juniors contesting the other semi-final.
Conmebol moved to a 90-minute final in a bid to exploit the commercial potential of a major continental club final, but moving the game would cause the governing body major embarrassment. Last season, the second leg of the final between River Plate and Boca Juniors had to be shifted away from the Argentinean capital to Madrid over security concerns.
The winners of the final will qualify for the Club World Cup in Qatar in December.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1574258767labto1574258767ofdlr1574258767owedi1574258767sni@o1574258767fni1574258767