River Plate president accuses Boca Juniors of not wanting to play Copa Libertadores final
River Plate president Rodolfo D'Onofrio has pleaded with Boca Juniors president Daniel Angelici to reconsider his threats about not playing in the Copa Libertadores return leg.
The game to be hosted by River was originally scheduled for Nov. 24 but had to be postponed due to crowd trouble near the Monumental stadium which left fans and several Boca players injured. CONMEBOL wants the game to be staged outside of Argentina on Dec. 8 or 9th, although a new venue has yet to be chosen.
Angelici, however, is insisting that River Plate should be disqualified from the competition and has threatened to go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) if CONMEBOL's disciplinary committee, which opened proceedings against River, rules otherwise.
"I cannot believe he has shown this level of disrespect toward CONMEBOL, River, its presidents," D'Onofrio said of Angelici in Wednesday's news conference. "He has not lived up to his word and did not respect what we signed [for the game to be postponed]."
D'Onofrio said he and Angelici had reached a gentlemen's agreement to reschedule Saturday's game so that Boca would not have to play at a disadvantage due to players being hurt during the crowd trouble.
"It's clear they [Boca] don't want to play it," D'Onofrio said. "They can win it [Cup] but they don't want to play."
D'Onofrio then sent a message to Angelici, saying: "Enough with this, come and play, let's play the game. You signed an agreement with me and you gave me your word. Don't listen to those that tell you what to do because you don't have to do that."
Boca have provided CONMEBOL further evidence to add to their original complaint which means the disciplinary committee will take 24 hours longer to make a ruling.
D'Onofrio, meanwhile, claims he has the support of Argentina president Mauricio Macri for the return leg to be played at River's Monumental stadium.
Macri is a former president of Boca.
However, the city that is considered favourite to host the match is Asuncion, Paraguay, sources have told ESPN.
Paraguay chief of police Walter Vazquez had offered the Defensores del Chaco stadium in Asuncion as a venue.
Doha, Qatar, which is 13,306 kilometers from Buenos Aires, is also a strong candidate to stage the game as the winner would remain in the region to then compete in the FIFA Club World Cup which will begin on Dec.12 in the United Arab Emirates.
Other cities that have officially expressed an interest to CONMEBOL to stage the game are Medellin, Colombia, Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Genoa, Italy, and Miami and New Orleans in the United States.
The chosen city will reportedly have to pay US $3 million as a fee for River Plate to reimburse their fans for the tickets.
The first leg was a 2-2 draw at Boca's Bombonera Stadium on Nov. 11, a game played a day after it was supposed to be played due to heavy rain.