Buenos Aires, Nov 27: Diego Maradona has urged South American football governing body CONMEBOL to award the Copa Libertadores winners’ trophy to Boca Juniors after River Plate hooligan fans caused the suspension of the final’s second leg.
The match between the Argentine rivals, originally slated for 5pm local time on Saturday at River’s Monumental stadium, was first pushed back by 24 hours after an attack on the Boca Juniors team bus left several players needing medical treatment, reports Xinhua news agency.
The game was postponed again on Sunday, with Boca Juniors complaining that their players were still physically and psychologically affected by the violence.
“I hope that CONMEBOL will act seriously and declare Boca Juniors the champions. My love for the club aside, there are rules that must be respected,” Maradona wrote on his social media on Monday.
The 58-year-old said that a precedent had been set in 2015, when Boca Juniors were kicked out of the Copa Libertadores after their fans attacked River players with pepper spray in the tunnel at halftime of their last 16 match.
“That was a drop of water (in comparison),” Maradona said, “I prefer to win on the pitch but when the rules are not respected, there has to be a penalty. And in this case the penalty should be to give the points to Boca.”
Maradona, who led Argentina to victory at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, played for Boca Juniors during two separate spells in the 1980s and 1990s. He is currently the manager of Mexican second division side Dorados.
Boca and River drew 2-2 in the first leg of the final at Boca’s Bombonera stadium earlier this month.
CONMEBOL officials are due to meet with representatives of both clubs on Tuesday to decide a new date for the return leg.
This is the first time that Argentina’s two biggest clubs meet in the final of South America’s premier club competition.