Libertadores: Conmebol evaluates alternative venue in finals against empty arena – 10/23/2022

The small crowd at the Copa Sudamericana final in Córdoba (Argentina) on October 1, in the 2-0 victory of Independiente Del Valle (EQU) over São Paulo, and the projection of an empty stadium also in the Libertadores decision on October 29, between Flamengo and Athletico in Guayaquil (Ecuador), they made the CONMEBOL board inform its Council that it is studying plans to change the protocol for choosing the host cities for its finals.

Changing the format that debuted in 2019, of a single game, is ruled out, but it is evaluated how to reduce the risk of empty stadiums. One of the plans that will be studied is to have an alternative venue to the one chosen to host the final. An official Plan B, which would be announced alongside Plan A and which would be used primarily in two situations:

1) Problems at headquarters A, such as infrastructure in the stadium renovation or security. In 2019, Conmebol had to withdraw the Libertadores final from Santiago, Chile, because of public protests that affected security. This year, the Isidro Romero Carbo stadium, in Guayaquil, was delayed in construction and violence in the Ecuadorian city has exploded in recent months, causing apprehension at the summit of the South American confederation.

It was necessary for the country’s president, Guillermo Lasso, to sign a document guaranteeing investment in security and the release of US$ 2 million from the Guayaquil city hall to help Conmebol in the renovation of the stadium for the city to be confirmed – probably if there was a plan B. official the headquarters would have been changed. Proponents of this idea feel that having an option announced can make headquarter strive to resolve issues more quickly.

2) This second possibility of changing headquarters is more controversial: plan B would be used after defining the finalist teams if this would facilitate the displacement of fans of these clubs to the host city. The final in Guayaquil this year, for example, has complicated logistics for Brazilian fans, due to the lack of direct flights, so the estimate of a maximum of 20,000 people in the stadium — there are 49,900 tickets available.

In this idea, if there is a Brazilian final and plan B presents a logistics that facilitates the access of delegations and fans, as a city with direct flight, the change would be made. In this case, the headquarters of plan A could be reimbursed financially or with a future event.

Internally, the CONMEBOL summit admits that South America has structural problems that make the single finals a logistical challenge, but remember that depending on the venue and the finalists, there is a guarantee of a good audience.

The 2019 Libertadores finals between Flamengo and River Plate, in Lima (Peru), and the Sudamericana finals between Del Valle and Colón had full arenas – the Argentines put more than 35 thousand people in the Nueva Olla stadium, in Asunción (Paraguay). ).

The edition of Libertadores in 2021, between Flamengo and Palmeiras in Montevideo, also filled the Centenary. In the assessment of Conmebol, the mixture of two mass clubs with the possibility of traveling by road, from Rio or São Paulo to the Uruguayan capital, explains the good public in last year’s decision. Therefore, a plan B with these characteristics would outperform a plan A with more complicated logistics.

Conmebol should decide in the coming weeks the hosts of the Libertadores and Sudamericana finals in 2023. Colombia, with Medellín or Barranquilla, appeared as the favorite to receive the decision of the main tournament, and the Mané Garrincha stadium, in Brasília, the da Sul-Americana — the federal capital would host the decision of this competition in 2022, but had to give it up because of the 1st round of the election, which took place one day after the final.

To see if there will be the inclusion of plan B, especially if Libertadores has the final in Colombia confirmed.

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