Wednesday, June 20, 2007

CONMEBOL: Stacking the Deck?

I might be wrong about this, but I just read something regarding the Copa Libertadores that is either confusing or in my opinion, plain wrong.

CONMEBOL Executive Secretary Francisco Figueiredo stated that as in the recent past, Mexican clubs will be invited to the Copa Libertadores but will not represent the region in the FIFA World Club Cup if they win the Copa Libertadores.

I understand this as it makes sense. The Mexican clubs are not a part of CONMEBOL so if they do win, they shouldn't be the CONMEBOL representatives at the FIFA World Club Cup. CONCACAF used the same rules with it's invited guests to the Gold Cup in relation to the Confederations Cup. This I have no problem with.

The next thing that Figueiredo said I had a problem with.

Figueiredo said that the Copa Libertadore's final match cannot be played outside of South America, even if a Mexican club reaches the final. As the Copa Libertadores final is a two legged series which is played home/away, this strikes me as wrong and borderline criminal.

So if next season Pachuca reaches the finals and faces Sao Paulo, one leg would be played in Sao Paulo, but the other leg which should be a Pachuca home game will be played somewhere else? I thought the entire idea of having two legged, home/away series was to give each club a home match that would be at their advantage. How would Pachuca get any type of advantage?

Unless CONMEBOL is switching the Copa Libertadores final to a single match similar to the UEFA Champions League final that will rotate from different CONMEBOL member cities each year, I suspect that this decision is the direct result of Pachuca winning the Copa Sudamericana last season. CONMEBOL is looking at outside ways to ensure that CONMEBOL clubs always win their pre-eminent club tournament.

Something about this doesn't sit well with me. This looks like another reaction to Pachuca's victory last season. I feel that their first step was grouping the CONCACAF clubs that are taking part in the Copa Sudamericana against each other this upcoming tournament, rather than allowing them to face off against CONMEBOL clubs. Instead after the second round, half of the CONCACAF clubs invited will be out of the tournament, reducing the number of non-CONMEBOL clubs that could challenge for the title.

I don't know, but if CONMEBOL wants to have its clubs win it's tournament's championships, then maybe stop inviting outside guests?

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Anonymous chunter said...

I think he just wants to tilt thing in the direction of Europe's Chapion's League, which is in two legs for most of its knockout sessions but play a single neutral-site final for its last round.

7:01 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

That I can understand and in all honesty, think that they should do with the Copa Libertadores, Copa Sudamericana and CONCACAF should do for the Champions Cup.

7:10 PM  
Blogger Gabriel said...

Just a correction. What he meant by the "final match" was the 2nd leg specifically. In other words, if a Mexican team reaches the final, their home game would necessarily be the 1st leg. The way he said it was ambiguous, but he did not mean that the home leg for the Mexican team would have to be played in South America too. This isn't a new rule, the couple of times Mexican teams have played the Libertadores or Sudamericana finals, the 2nd legs were necessarily in South America, but they played the 1st at home.

3:27 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

That makes perfect sense. I also think that if CONMEBOL wanted to try and squeeze more money out of the Libertadores, then they shoudl set up the final like the UEFA Champions League Final, a one off match that rotates around the region.

3:32 PM  

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