The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) has confirmed that the delayed 2020 Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana campaigns will conclude behind closed doors later this month.
Following their suspension last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CONMEBOL’s two leading club competitions are playing out their semi-finals this week before the Libertadores final is held at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracanã (pictured) on January 30 and the Sudamericana concludes at Córdoba’s Estadio Mario Kempes on January 23.
Following the outbreak of COVID-19, games in Brazil and Argentina have been played without fans in attendance and this will remain the case for the two finals. CONMEBOL made the announcement after reaching an agreement with the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) and Argentine Football Association (AFA).
The continental governing body said in a statement: “The current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, still expanding in South America, does not allow the holding of an event of this magnitude and importance with the presence of the public, even with a reduced capacity.
“The resolution is consistent with the position declared by CONMEBOL since the beginning of the pandemic in the sense of working for the return of competitions on the continent, but with the utmost care to preserve the health of all members of the South American football family.”
The Maracanã and Estadio Mario Kempes were awarded hosting rights to the two finals back in October 2019. 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 previously operated under a two-leg final system.