MADRID (Rahnuma) Rodolfo D’Onofrio, the President of Argentinean football club, River Plate admitted his disappointment that the second leg of the Copa Libertadores between River and Boca Juniors will be played in Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Sunday rather than in Argentina.
The second leg of the final was due to be held in River’s Estadio Monumental on November 25th but was postponed and then moved to Spain after violent scenes ahead of the game, which saw rocks and other missiles thrown at the Boca Juniors team coach and other incidents.
When asked on Spanish radio whether it was a disaster that the most important game in South America was being played in Spain, D’Onofrio said it was, “disgraceful because this is an historic match.”
“It’s a crazy idea but there are reasons we are here: 800 meters from River’s stadium, things were not done well and an act of vandalism was committed next to the (Boca) team bus.”
“It’s shameful for Argentinean football. It’s unheard of,” he said, before criticizing River’s ‘ultra’ fans, known as Barra Bravas.
“I don’t want to see them at River or anywhere else,” he said, although he added that in order to ban the violent fans “you need to have proof that they have done something inside the stadium… We aren’t the police and we can’t confront them. Those involved in security have to get rid of that minority group.”
“I don’t know if they are coming to Madrid. I just hope that with the proper precautionary measures, nothing happens close to the stadium,” said D’Onofrio.
Boca Juniors coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto also spoke to the press on Friday, saying that the Bernabeu was “excellent as a venue, but as an Argentinean the decision to take the game out of Argentina hurts me, even though we cannot tolerate what happened 15 days ago.”
“We need this kind of game in Argentina and South America and show that we have matured. It is the moment to change. The fact we can’t play a Boca-River there is lamentable and it means we have to act,” he said.
Barros said his players were focused on preparing for Sunday’s game rather than security issues, but said it was “lamentable that we have to talk about security rather than all the good things the clubs have done on the pitch.”