A great country, two fantastic and historical teams and yet it has come to this where the Copa Libertadores final will now not take place in Argentina, a final between two Argentinian teams in Boca Juniors and River Plate.
The disgraceful scenes which marred what would have been the 2nd leg match after the first ended in a cliff hanger at 2-2 is the reason behind it. First the final was cancelled for 24 hours then it was pushed back a few days more and more violent scenes erupted. The fans to blame are the fans of River Plate, this time. But last time going to 2007 it was Boca’s fans that had the tear gas out and were then kicked out of the very same competition. So now Boca want River kicked out, but something about that doesn’t seem right. Why do fans have so much ‘influence’ when not one player from either side was involved in the problems?
The decision to play the 2nd leg outside of Argentina is sadly the right one. Sadly because this simply should not be happening. But maybe this is a final and direct message that if you want to see your club in a final then we are going to make it as hard as possible to happen. What the authorities must do next though is make sure the final is in Europe. Move it to Brazil for example and you could end up with even more problems.
A Brazilian final would mean that both River and Boca fans would have the chance to travel to that game and even if they do not have tickets they could create ugly scenes outside of the stadium, at this stage we couldn’t put that past them. No this final needs to be far and away and Italy have stepped forward to take it on.
In an ideal world the final would have been played and sorted now and the most that losing and winning fans should be doing is calm banter. Instead these fans are used to creating violence at games, yes it makes for an electrifying atmosphere no doubt about it but it can cause problems. The Argentinian FA have had to deal with that and that is why no away fans are allowed to attend football games in the country. It’s a step that had to be taken but it is sad at the same time that it has come to this.
League matches have been affected before but now Europe is looking at what is South America’s equilivant of the Champions League final, and you look on in shame and disappointment that such a showpiece event can not take place because of violence.