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Santiago and Lima to stage new-look Conmebol club finals

The South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) has selected Santiago and Lima as hosts of the revamped finals of its showpiece club competitions, the Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana.

Conmebol announced in February that the finals would revert to a single-game format from the 2019 season – a switch that the body says will be more lucrative for the teams involved.

The competitions currently operate under a two-leg final system and a switch was first mooted for 2017, only to be postponed. Conmebol has since been assessing the makeup of its club competitions and a system will be introduced mirroring that of European governing body Uefa for its Champions League and Europa League tournaments.

A bidding process took place for the hosting rights, with Conmebol assisted by FC Diez Media, the joint venture established by the IMG agency and digital media company Perform to advise the organisation on commercial rights for club competitions. The Chilean and Peruvian capitals both put forward bids, along with Montevideo.

However, the Uruguayan capital dropped out of the running with Conmebol yesterday (Tuesday) assigning the 2019 Copa Libertadores final to Santiago and the Sudamericana final to Lima. “These decisions are due to the strategic objective of promoting the sporting development of South American football through greater resources, more investment and better standards at all levels,” Conmebol president Alejandro Dominguez said.

“In addition to generating more income to reinvest in sports development, the single finals will be a great opportunity for South America to make a big leap in sports infrastructure, event organisation, security controls, comfort in the stadiums, and promotion of the tournaments, clubs and players both regionally and globally. The single finals of the Libertadores and the Sudamericana will be events that will inspire all South Americans to ‘Believe in Great’.”

From next year, the Copa Libertadores final will be played on a Saturday. Conmebol has previously projected that, relative to the prize money for this season’s tournament, each finalist will receive an additional $2m (€1.7m), plus 25 per cent of the gate receipts for the game.

The winner of the 2018 Copa Libertadores is currently due to receive $6m, while the runner-up will gain $3m. Conmebol also noted that from 2019, clubs will not have to meet the expense of staging one leg of the final.