Copa Libertadores final switches from Santiago to Lima

Lucas Martinez Quarta of River Plate celebrates with the Copa Libertadores trophy (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

The South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) has opted to move the final of this year’s Copa Libertadores club competition from Santiago in Chile to the Peruvian capital of Lima.

The match between Flamengo and River Plate will still be held on November 23 as originally planned. Conmebol has not confirmed the venue for the match but the confederation’s president, Alejandro Dominguez, said it would likely be held at the 80,000-seat Monumental stadium.

The match was initially scheduled to take place at Chile’s national stadium in Santiago but ongoing protests have forced Conmebol to reassign hosting rights. The protests were sparked by a rise in subway fares and have since grown to include issues relating to education, health services and economic inequality.

Conmebol said in a statement that it considered the safety of players and fans before deciding to strip Santiago of hosting rights. The presidents of Flamengo and River Plate have agreed to the change.

“We understand that the most viable option for everyone, and with guarantees from the Peruvian government, is that (the game is played) in Lima,” Dominguez said, according to the Reuters news agency.

Santiago and Lima were selected as the respective hosts of this year’s Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana finals in August 2018. The matches will mark the first year of Conmebol’s new single-game model for the finals of its club competitions. Until last year, the finals were held over two legs.

In May, Conmebol announced that the final of this year’s Copa Sudamericana would now be held at the Estadio Defensores del Chaco in Asunción, Paraguay, and not in Lima as originally announced.

The latest announcement marks the second year in a row that Conmebol has been forced to reschedule the Copa Libertadores final. The twice-postponed second leg of the 2018 final between River Plate and Boca Juniors was reassigned to Madrid’s Bernabéu stadium following fan violence in Buenos Aires.