BUENOS AIRES, Nov. 5 (Xinhua) — Only home fans will be allowed to attend the Copa Libertadores final between Boca Juniors and River Plate this month, officials from both clubs said on Monday.
Argentine President Mauricio Macri had said last week that a ban on visiting team supporters, introduced in the country in 2013 to combat violence, would be temporarily lifted for the final, to be played over two legs in Buenos Aires.
But the traditional city rivals said they decided to restrict the matches to home fans “to avoid problems”.
“Boca Juniors and River Plate have reached an agreement for the Copa Libertadores final to be played without the presence of away fans,” Boca said in a statement.
“This was agreed [on Monday] afternoon, following a meeting of the presidents of both clubs, Daniel Angelici and Rodolfo D’Onofrio, in the Argentine Football Association headquarters with its president Claudio Tapia present.
“At the meeting, the presidents of both clubs agreed that despite the local and international appeal generated by the “Superclasico” with the presence of both sets of fans, this could create problems for members of both clubs.”
“In addition to the 4,000 seats for the away fans, thousands of other seats would also have had to be restricted in order to place an empty space in between as a safety area, narrowing down considerably the available space for the home fans.”
“Despite this decision, Boca Juniors and River Plate value and recognise the interest of president Mauricio Macri in promoting the presence of away fans in the two legs of the final that will have historical significance,” the Boca statement continued.
“To that effect, both clubs commit to take all the necessary measures to make it possible for the presence of both fans in each league match.”
The first match of the final will be played at Boca’s La Bombonera on Saturday, with the return leg scheduled for November 24 at River’s El Monumental.
Boca are gunning for their seventh Copa Libertadores crown while River are hoping to be champions for a fourth time.
The winner will play in the FIFA Club World Cup in the United Arab Emirates in December.