Copa Libertadores: Final shifted to Santiago Bernabeu after massive riot
The Copa Libertadores final, which was to be a historical encounter between River Plate and Boca Juniors, was mired in violence when River Plate fans decided to attack the Boca Juniors bus outside their stadium. Numerous Boca players were injured when bottles and rocks thrown at their bus shattered the glass windows. Thus, the second leg of the final has now been shifted to the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid.
The first leg was held comfortably and it ended in a 2-2 draw. But when the Juniors bus arrived at the River Plate stadium last weekend, fans attacked the bus, throwing bottles, rocks, and other items, vandalizing it and seriously injuring some of the players. Police had to be deployed and such a huge ruckus was created that the match had to be abandoned.
Hooligan culture has long been a part of football not only in South America but throughout Europe. It has now been confirmed, by the mayor of Buenos Aires, that the hooligan organization of River Plate, Barra Barra, who are known as the "mafia of Argentine soccer" were behind this concerted violence. It could've been a protest against the arrest of a Barra Barra leader who was caught with 10 million pesos and 300 tickets of the match.
After the violent incident went down, Boca Juniors had appealed to the CONMEBOL to expel River Plate from the competition due to the mismanagement and award the trophy to Boca. However, the CONMEBOL decided against it but did not let River Plate get away scot-free. CONMEBOL has handed River Plate a two-match stadium ban, effective from 2019, and a fine of $400,000.
In a press conference, CONMEBOL president Alejandro Dominguez said that the reason for selecting Spain is that it is home to the biggest Argentine population in the world after their native country. Moreover, Real Madrid's president has allowed them access to the Bernabeu "for free".