ERIC WEIL in BUENOS AIRES: South American football confederation CONMEBOL wants to reorganise the Copa Libertadores but is only spoiling it by increasing the number of participating clubs from 38 and 44.
This continues a lowering of standards ever since the days back in the 1960s when only the champions of the 10 South American countries took part. Shortly they will want to increase the number of participating clubs further.
There was also a proposal to fill some of the extra slots with clubs according to all-time ranking although this was later denied.
The ranking would have been based on clubs’ record in previous Libertadores and the number of domestic championships won. This would put River Plate and Boca Juniors at the top and guarantee them places in the top competition for years to come.
A reorganised tournament would be played from February to December to give clubs more breathing space. The Copa Sudamericana, whose winners currently qualify for the Copa Libertadores, might become just a qualifying tournament.
CONMEBOL also wants to conclude the Copa Libertadores on the lines of the European Champions League and decide it in a one-match final in a neutral country instead of home and away games. This appears self-defeating: it would cost fans of both countries more money to travel and, contrary to aims, will bring in less cash.