February 5 – The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has confirmed that Argentina’s River Plate are the 2018 Copa Libertadores champions after rejecting the appeal of cross-town rivals and losing finalists Boca Juniors.
River Plate, however, were ordered to play their next two Libertadores home ties behind closed doors for their fans’ violence which prompted the postponement of the final’s second leg.
The second leg of the Copa Libertadores final was moved to Madrid in December 2018 after River fans attacked the Boca bus, on the way to the Estadio Monumental in Buenos Aires. “The scope of the CAS arbitration procedure was related to security incidents which occurred just outside the security rings when the Boca Juniors’ team bus was attacked by River Plate supporters who threw rocks causing the windows of the bus to smash, and injury to some of the Boca Juniors players,” said a CAS statement.
At the Bernabeu Stadium, football prevailed and so did River who won 3-1 after extra time to win 5-3 aggregate.
Boca then appealed to Conmebol to have their rivals disqualified over the fan behaviour from the postponed second leg, but even a recourse at CAS failed. Instead, sport’s highest tribunal upheld the Conmebol of two-matches behind closed doors in the Copa Libertadores and a $400,000 fine.
“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,” said CAS in a statement. “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.”
In the group phase of the 2020 Copa Libertadores, River Plate have been paired alongside Ecuador’s LDU, Binacional of Peru, and Brazil’s Sao Paulo.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1582400027labto1582400027ofdlr1582400027owedi1582400027sni@o1582400027fni1582400027