LAUSANNE: The insoluble problem confronting the Court of Arbitration when facing a football case has been underlined by its verdict on events at the final of the South American Copa Libertadores . . . in 2018 writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The time needed for legal submissions, translations and negotiating suitable dates means that the sport has left the original incident far behind.
Thus, for an event in 2108 CAS has just ordered River Plate to play their next two Libertadores home ties behind closed doors for their fans’ violence which prompted the postponement of the second leg of the 2018 final.
The tie against old rivals Boca Juniors was scrapped after River fans attacked the Boca coach as it approached the Estadio Monumental in Buenos Aires. Eventually the tie was staged in Madrid and River won 3-1 to secure a 5-3 aggregate victory and lift their fourth title.
Last year River reached the final again only to lose to Flamengo of Brazil.
Two tournaments later CAS staged: “The Panel considered that the appropriate sanction to be imposed on River Plate for the bus attack was two matches behind closed doors, to be applied to River Plate’s next two home matches in the Copa Libertadores.”
The club have been drawn in a group alongside Ecuador’s LDU, Binacional of Peru, and Sao Paulo in this year’s tournament, with their first home game scheduled for March 11.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has issued its decision in the appeal filed by Club Atlético Boca Juniors (Boca Juniors) against the Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol (CONMEBOL) and Club Atlético River Plate (River Plate) regarding decision A-21-18 taken by the CONMEBOL Appeals Chamber on 6 December 2018, which confirmed the first instance decision O-212-18 rendered by the CONMEBOL Disciplinary Tribunal on 29 November 2018.
Incidents inside and outside the Stadium Antonio Vespucio Liberti (River Plate’s stadium) before the return leg of the Final Copa Libertadores on 24 November 2018 were at the origin of two disciplinary procedures directed against River Plate.
CONMEBOL initiated a procedure O-213-18 (and then A 23-18) dealing with incidents inside the Stadium and sanctioning River Plate with two matches behind closed doors and a fine of USD 400,000.
That decision was not appealed at the CAS. In the other procedure (O-212-18), Boca Juniors’ request to have River Plate disqualified from the 2018 Copa Libertadores was rejected in first instance and this decision was confirmed in decision A-21-18 taken by the CONMEBOL Appeals Chamber.
The CONMEBOL decision was then appealed at CAS by Boca Juniors and was the object of the present procedure.
The scope of the CAS arbitration procedure was related to security incidents which occurred just outside the security rings when the Boca Juniors’ team bus was attacked by River Plate supporters who threw rocks causing the windows of the bus to smash, and injury to some of the Boca Juniors players (the Bus Attack).
In its appeal to CAS, Boca Juniors sought to have decision A-21-18 set aside and replaced with an order from CAS that River Plate be held liable for its supporters conduct during the Bus Attack and that River Plate be sanctioned with disqualification from the 2018 Copa Libertadores or with “serious disciplinary sanction(s).”
The CAS Panel found that while River Plate had violated the CONMEBOL Disciplinary Regulations it could not order the disqualification of River Plate from the 2018 Copa Libertadores since such sanction would have been excessive in the circumstances of the case.
The Panel considered that the appropriate sanction to be imposed on River Plate for the Bus Attack was two matches behind closed doors, to be applied to River Plate’s next two home matches in the Copa Libertadores.