Boca Juniors refuse to play Copa Libertadores final, demand River Plate disqualification

Boca Juniors are refusing to play the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final and are instead demanding to be crowned champions following last weekend’s bus attack by rival River Plate supporters.

The South American football federation, CONMBEOL, announced in Paraguay on Tuesday that the postponed second leg of the final between the two Buenos Aires rivals would be played on either December 8 or 9. The game will not take place in Argentina. 

READ MORE: Postponed Copa Libertadores final to be played Dec 8 or 9, will not be held in Argentina

No new venue was confirmed, although Miami in the US, Asuncion in Paraguay or even the United Arab Emirates have all been touted as possible new locations.

However, furious figures at Boca are demanding that River be disqualified from the competition altogether and that they be handed the title.  

“Boca listened carefully to [CONMBEOL president Alejandro Dominguez’s] words,” Boca president Daniel Angelici told reporters after Tuesday’s announcement to reschedule the match for December.  

“We have decided to submit a request for disqualification to River. Today we expand the petition with 46 more pages, with videos, photos and evidence. Now the Disciplinary Tribunal has to answer.

“I hope that the court gives its answer with reasons. We are not willing to play any matches until the court decides. We believe that there are reasons to attend our request,” he added.

“The rescheduling of the game is a decision of the CONMEBOL Executive Committee, not the Disciplinary Tribunal. We want them to adhere to the law, we believe that within CONMEBOL there are precedents for the request of Boca to be received positively.”

The Boca chief said the club would exhaust all legal avenues in a bid to see River disqualified from the competition, which is the biggest in South American club football.

“I have the duty and the obligation to defend Boca. It is a very serious fact, it is not about waiting for someone to die to make decisions.

“River have had many sanctions during this Copa Libertadores. Boca is going to exhaust all administrative instances,” Angelici vowed, adding: “we don’t have our minds on playing the final.”

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© Reuters / Agustin Marcarian

Saturday’s game at River’s ElMonumental stadium was called off when home fans attacked the bus carrying Boca players to the stadium, smashing windows as they hurled objects at the vehicle.

Several players were injured by shattered glass while others were affected by police tear gas fired in the midst of the chaos.       

The game was initially rescheduled for Sunday, although it was again called off amid protests that Boca players were not in a fit state to play.   

READ MORE: OFF! Copa Libertadores final suspended AGAIN in bid to ‘preserve equality’ after violent bus attack

The tie is evenly balanced at 2-2 following a thrilling first leg at Boca’s La Bombonera stadium earlier in November.

Buenos Aires mayor Horacio Rodriguez Larreta has said that weekend’s violence was a revenge attack after police raided the home of the leader of Barra Brava – an often violent wing of River Plate supporters – the day prior to the match.

Argentina legend Diego Maradona, meanwhile, has blamed the country’s president for the scenes. 

READ MORE: ‘He’s worst in Argentina’s history’: Boca legend Maradona blames president for final violence

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