Maracanã, Estadio M Kempes to host CONMEBOL club finals


Maracanã, Estadio Mario Kempes Image: MJR Group Ltd. / Coliseum

The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) has awarded rights to Rio de Janeiro’s Maracanã Stadium and Córdoba’s (Argentina) Estadio Mario Kempes to host the 2020 Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana, respectively. These annual international club football competitions are flagship events.

The stadia in Brazil and Argentina will be the venues for only the second-ever staging of the finals in their new set-up. In February 2018, CONMEBOL arrived at a decision that a single-game formula would be applied for the finals from the 2019 season.

The governing body of football in South America felt that this switchover would work to the advantage of the teams involved as the former mirrors the strategy used by UEFA for its Champions League and Europa League competitions. Previously, the competitions had operated under a two-leg final system.

CONMEBOL informed that 12 stadia across Argentina, Brazil and Peru would contest the hosting rights for the finals of the 2020 Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana. For the Copa Libertadores final, eight candidates were picked up, with four venues competing for the Sudamericana.

For the Copa Libertadores, six venues from four cities in Brazil have been named – Mineirão (Belo Horizonte), Arena do Gremio and Estadio Beira-Rio (Porto Alegre), the Maracanã (Rio de Janeiro), and Estadio do Morumbi and Arena Corinthians (São Paulo). They had to compete for the rights with Estadio Mario Kempes in Argentina, and Estadio Nacional in Lima, Peru.

Estadio Mario Kempes also made the shortlist for the Copa Sudamericana, along with fellow Argentine venue Estadio Único in La Plata. Lima’s Estadio Nacional was also named, while Brasília’s Estadio Mané Garrincha completed the list.

The CONMEBOL Council has informed that Maracanã will host the 2020 Copa Libertadores final on November 21, and the Copa Sudamericana final will be held at Estadio Mario Kempes on November 7.

“The new finals have been a revolution for both the Libertadores and Sudamericana, increasing the projection and international reach of our football,” said CONMEBOL President Alejandro Dominguez.

“Rio de Janeiro and Córdoba will undoubtedly become the best hosts to welcome the great family of South American football and make these two games two inescapable events of world football,” he further stated.

Governor of Rio de Janeiro, Wilson Witzel, had this to say as regards awarding the Libertadores final to the Maracanã, “Receiving this grand final at Maracanã, which turns 70 in 2020, is a great joy. Rio has hosted events such as the (FIFA) World Cup, Olympic Games and Copa America. The city is ready to welcome the fans to the Libertadores, with a complete hotel infrastructure with 40,000 vacancies. We have a special team to meet all security demands, with a facial recognition camera system connected to the Civil Police database, as well as complete mobility infrastructure.”

The first edition of the Copa Libertadores final in a new get-up will be held on November 23 at Santiago’s Estadio Nacional in Chile on November 23.

CONMEBOL was forced to find an outside host for the last edition of the Copa Libertadores final in its two-legged format the same being a decisive match. CONMEBOL selected the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, home of Spanish LaLiga club Real Madrid, as the new host of the second leg of the 2018 Copa Libertadores final. The reason given was the infrastructure on offer in the Spanish capital and the fact that Spain boasts the world’s largest expat Argentine community.

Following fan unrest, CONMEBOL decided that the game should be held outside Argentina and stadia from across the world were linked to the game. The fan violence resulted in the cancellation of the match at El Monumental in Argentina, the home of Superliga club River Plate.

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