Copa Libertadores final heads back to Maracanã

Featured image credit: Boaventuravinicius/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size

The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) has awarded hosting rights for the 2023 Copa Libertadores final to the Estádio do Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro, while this year’s Copa Sudamericana finale will be held at a yet to be defined stadium in Montevideo, Uruguay.

This year’s Libertadores finale on November 11 will be the third to be played at the iconic Brazilian stadium following the 2008 and 2020 games. Rio-based clubs Flamengo and Fluminense call the Maracanã home and are both competing in this season’s Libertadores.

CONMEBOL decided in February 2018 that the finals of its showpiece club competitions 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 mirrored the strategy used by UEFA for its Champions League and Europa League competitions. The competitions had previously operated under a two-leg final system.

Since then, the Libertadores final has been held in Lima (2019), Rio de Janeiro (2020), Montevideo (2021) and Guayaquil (2022). 

The last three finals have been all Brazilian affairs, but the last two were logistically difficult for fans to travel to, while the 2020 edition at the Maracanã had to be played behind closed doors due to COVID-19.

The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) is also said to have bid for the 2023 Sudamericana final after losing hosting rights to last year’s game. CONMEBOL in June announced that the 2022 final would be relocated from the Brazilian capital of Brasilia to Córdoba in Argentina.

Brasilia’s Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha had been due to host the final on October 1 but the CBF requested that the match be relocated due to the general elections taking place in the country the following day.

The match was instead held at the Estadio Mario Alberto Kempes in Córdoba on the same day. The stadium hosted the final of the 2020 Copa Sudamericana, albeit without fans due to COVID-19 restrictions at the time.

This year’s Sudamericana final will be played on October 28.