The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) has awarded hosting rights for its 2021 Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana finals to Estadio Centenario in the Uruguayan capital Montevideo, while next year’s events will be held in Guayaquil and Brasilia, respectively.

CONMEBOL said one of the main reasons it chose Montevideo to host both finals this year is due to the COVID-19 situation in the country. With a population of around 3.5 million, Uruguay has recorded around 3,200 deaths from COVID-19, among the lowest rates in South America.

This year’s Libertadores and Sudamericana finals have been scheduled for November 6 and 20, respectively, with CONMEBOL stating that Uruguay’s plan to vaccinate a high percentage of its population by July is set to make it one of the safest regions of the continent by the time the events take place.

This should therefore allow for “considerable” fan attendance, according to CONMEBOL, with the delayed 2020 finals of the club competitions having been played behind closed doors. The Libertadores final was held at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracanã on January 30 this year, while the Sudamericana concluded at Córdoba’s Estadio Mario Kempes on January 23.

The Centenario (pictured), which currently has a capacity of around 60,000, was built in 1930 to host the inaugural edition of the FIFA World Cup. CONMEBOL said that this year’s finals will act as a “relaunch” of the stadium, within the framework of the joint bid between Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and Paraguay for the 2030 World Cup.

CONMEBOL said: “In effect, the Uruguayan Football Association has designed an investment plan for its main sports stadium, with the goal of reaching 2030 with a radical renovation.”

CONMEBOL also awarded hosting rights for next season’s two finals. Estadio Monumental in Guayaquil, Ecuador will host the Libertadores final, while Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha in Brasilia, Brazil will stage the Sudamericana match. CONMEBOL said the award of the games one year in advance will allow for better preparation and logistics.

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.

The 2019 Libertadores final was hosted by Estadio Monumental in Lima, Peru, with the Sudamericana taking place at Estadio General Pablo Rojas in Asunción, Paraguay.

Image: Jimmy Baikovicius/CC BY-SA 2.0/Edited for size