FIFA president Gianni Infantino has denied that he threatened Boca Juniors with sanctions if they did not play the Copa Libertadores final return leg on Saturday, November 24, 2018 despite crowd trouble.
According to River Plate supremo, Rodolfo D’Onofrio, there had been pressure all the way from the top of FIFA for the game between River and Boca to be played on Saturday at the Monumental stadium, even with the unrest that left some Boca players injured and ultimately resulted in the postponement of the game.
But Infantino who was in Buenos Aires to watch the game, told La Nacion newspaper that:
“I want to clarify, due to false rumours that have circulated, that at no time did I ask for the game to be played. I did not threaten anyone with disciplinary sanctions in the case that the game did not take place. Any decisions regarding the game is taken by CONMEBOL and never by FIFA”.
River fans attacked the Boca team bus ahead of Saturday’s game, with Boca captain Pablo Perez and midfielder Gonzalo Lamardo taken to nearby hospitals.
The start of the game was initially delayed by over two hours before it was postponed until Sunday, November 25, 2018,
According to D’Onofrio, while speaking to local press:
“FIFA president [Infantino] said in front of me to [Boca president Daniel] Angelici that the game would be played at 7.15 p.m. I told Angelici in his ear that he had my solidarity… that River did not want to have any kind of advantage”.
And on Sunday, CONMEBOL decided to again postpone the encounter. And a meeting will take place on Tuesday, November 27, 2018 at its headquarters near Asuncion, Paraguay, to determine the date and venue of the return leg.
The municipality of Genoa in Italy has offered River and Boca the opportunity to play the game at the city’s Marassi stadium.
A letter addressed to the presidents of the two clubs said:
“Our city, which historically, culturally and through sport, is close to Buenos Aires, feels a deep-rooted link to your two prestigious clubs founded by our countrymen who emigrated from Italian to Argentina in the early 1900s, and today twinned to our two clubs Genoa and Sampdoria.
“The painful recent events which have hit us, have reawakened a profound sense of community and of rediscovering our roots; therefore, as Sports Chief Executive of the Municipality of Genoa, I am communicating to you that our city would be honoured and makes itself available to host this important and prestigious Cup final and Argentine capital derby.
“We are at your disposal for anything you may need”.