Copa Libertadores: River Plate boss Marcelo Gallardo 'worried' Chile protests could move final
River Plate manager Marcelo Gallardo said he is "worried" that protests in Chile could force a change in venue for his side's Copa Libertadores final against Flamengo on Nov. 23.
Chile's government and CONMEBOL on Wednesday insisted that the final is set to go ahead in Santiago, despite Chilean President Sebastian Pinera having called off the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and U.N. global climate gatherings earlier that day due to the unrest.
But the concerns remain a year after the return leg of last year's final -- also involving River Plate -- was moved to Madrid because of fan violence.
"I am worried about the situation Chile is going through," said Gallardo. "We hope this can be settled with peace because of their country and their people and also because of us, so we can be sure where we will play."
The second leg of last year's Copa Libertadores final was supposed to be played at River's Monumental de Nunez stadium. But the match scheduled for Nov. 24 never happened after local fans pelted a Boca Juniors bus with rocks, injuring three Boca players.
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CONMEBOL moved the decider to Spain against the will of both Argentine clubs. River won 3-1 at Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu stadium.
If the game is moved again, Argentina and Brazil will be ineligible to host it as the countries of the two finalists. Paraguay's Nueva Olla stadium in Asuncion will be used two weeks earlier for the Copa Sudamericana final between Ecuador's Independiente del Valle and Argentina's Colon.
Flamengo midfielder Everton Ribeiro says his team is not thinking about any possible changes.
"People will cheer for us wherever we play," he said. "CONMEBOL said it will be Chile, so we are thinking about Chile and the final."
Sports Minister Cecilia Perez told journalists Wednesday that the final between Argentina's River Plate and Brazil's Flamengo can be staged safely.
Santiago's Estadio Nacional was picked more than one year ago as the venue for the first single-match final of South America's main club tournament.
Next year's final will be at Rio de Janeiro's Maracana stadium.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.