Maracanã, Estadio Mario Kempes to host CONMEBOL club finals

Rio de Janeiro’s Maracanã and Córdoba’s Estadio Mario Kempes will host the 2020 Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana, respectively, after the hosting rights to the club competition showpieces were awarded by the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL).

The stadia in Brazil and Argentina will be the venues for only the second-ever staging of the finals in their new format. CONMEBOL decided in February 2018 that the finals would change to a single-game format from the 2019 season – a switch that the body said would be more lucrative for the teams involved as the governing body mirrors the strategy used by UEFA for its Champions League and Europa League competitions. The competitions had operated under a two-leg final system.

Earlier this week, CONMEBOL said 12 stadia across Argentina, Brazil and Peru would contest the hosting rights for the finals of the 2020 Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana. Eight candidates were selected for the Copa Libertadores final, with four venues competing for the Sudamericana.

For the Copa Libertadores, six venues from four cities in Brazil were named. They were the Mineirão (Belo Horizonte); Arena do Gremio and Estadio Beira-Rio (Porto Alegre); the Maracanã (Rio de Janeiro); and Estadio do Morumbi and Arena Corinthians (São Paulo). They competed for the rights with Estadio Mario Kempes in Argentina; and Estadio Nacional in Lima, Peru.

Estadio Mario Kempes also made the shortlist for the Copa Sudamericana, along with fellow Argentine venue Estadio Único in La Plata. Lima’s Estadio Nacional was also named, while Brasília’s Estadio Mané Garrincha completed the list.

The CONMEBOL Council yesterday (Thursday) said the 2020 Copa Libertadores final will take place at the Maracanã on November 21, with the Copa Sudamericana final to be held at Estadio Mario Kempes on November 7. “The new finals have been a revolution for both the Libertadores and Sudamericana, increasing the projection and international reach of our football,” said Conmebol president Alejandro Dominguez.

“Rio de Janeiro and Córdoba will undoubtedly become the best hosts to welcome the great family of South American football and make these two games two inescapable events of world football.”

 Regarding the award of the Libertadores final to the Maracanã, Governor of Rio de Janeiro, Wilson Witzel, said: “Receiving this grand final at Maracanã, which turns 70 in 2020, is a great joy. Rio has hosted events such as the (FIFA) World Cup, Olympic Games and Copa America.

“The city is ready to welcome the fans to the Libertadores, with a complete hotel infrastructure with 40,000 vacancies. We have a special team to meet all security demands, with a facial recognition camera system connected to the Civil Police database, as well as complete mobility infrastructure.”

The first edition of the new-look Copa Libertadores final will be held next month at Santiago’s Estadio Nacional in Chile on November 23, with the second legs of this season’s semi-finals taking place next week.

The final of the 2019 Copa Sudamericana between Ecuador’s Independiente del Valle and Argentina’s Colon will be held at Paraguay’s Estadio General Pablo Rojas on November 9.

The last edition of the Copa Libertadores final in its two-legged format saw CONMEBOL forced to find an outside host for its decisive match. CONMEBOL selected the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, home of Spanish LaLiga club Real Madrid, as the new host of the second leg of the 2018 Copa Libertadores final, citing the infrastructure on offer in the Spanish capital and the fact that Spain has the world’s largest expat Argentine community.

Stadia from across the world were linked to the game after CONMEBOL ruled that it should take place outside Argentina following the fan violence that led to the cancellation of the match at El Monumental, the home of Superliga club River Plate.

River was due to face off against arch rival Boca Juniors in Buenos Aires after the first leg of South American club football’s biggest game finished 2-2 at Boca’s La Bombonera stadium on November 11. River won the second leg 3-1 in Madrid on December 9 to claim the trophy 5-3 on aggregate.

Image: State of Rio de Janeiro