The Estadio Monumental in the Peruvian capital of Lima suffered an untimely break-in on Thursday evening, leaving the venue without a range of equipment ahead of the high-profile Copa Libertadores final tomorrow (Saturday).
The security breach occurred at about 11pm local time, with thieves escaping with a stash that included 119 walkie talkies, 90 cables, 65 batteries, three chargers and various accessories. According to local radio station RPP, the equipment, which belonged to two companies, Backtrack Meneses and Ares Solutions, was set to be used to manage broadcast coverage of the fixture.
The game, which is operated by the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL), will feature Brazilian Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A club Flamengo and Argentinian Superliga team River Plate at the 80,000-capacity venue, with both clubs boasting large followings.
The incident marks the latest setback for an occasion that is considered to be the pinnacle of South American club football.
The final was only switched from Santiago’s Estadio Nacional to Lima earlier this month after CONMEBOL evaluated its options in the wake of civil unrest in the Chilean capital.
When CONMEBOL announced the relocation of the match, it said in a statement: “The choice of the new scenario is based on the offer of the government of Peru, and on the security guarantees it has given.”
The last edition of the Copa Libertadores final in its traditional 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. 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 River Plate.
Rio de Janeiro’s Maracanã and Córdoba’s Estadio Mario Kempes will host the finals of the 2020 Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana, respectively, after the hosting rights were awarded by CONMEBOL last month.