Chile confirms Libertadores final goes ahead despite crisis

Santiago (AFP) –


The final of South America's club football showpiece will go ahead in Santiago next month despite violent protests that have rocked Chile for more than 10 days, leaving 20 people dead.

Argentine holders River Plate face Brazilian giants Flamengo in the November 23 Copa Libertadores final at the 49,000-capacity national stadium in Santiago.

Chile's Sports Minister Cecilia Perez said on Wednesday she'd spoken with South American football governing body CONMEBOL's president Alejandro Dominguez and had confirmed Chile's "desire and commitment to put on the Copa Libertadores final in our country."

It comes after Chile President Sebastian Pinera revealed earlier that Santiago was withdrawing from hosting the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit on November 16-17 and the Cop 25 climate change conference from December 2-13.

Chile has been hit by its worst social unrest and violent protests in decades as hundreds of thousands of people have expressed anger over social and economic inequality.

CONMEBOL posted a message on Twitter thanking Chile's government "for guaranteeing the security conditions" to allow the final to go ahead.

River are aiming for a second straight title having knocked out bitter domestic rivals Boca Juniors -- their final opponents last year -- 2-1 on aggregate in the semi-finals.

Flamengo were in dazzling semi-final form, knocking out 2017 champions and fellow Brazilians Gremio 6-1 on aggregate thanks to a 5-0 second leg success at the Maracana.

It will be the first time the Libertadores final is played in a single match at a neutral venue.

Last year's final second leg was relocated 10,000 kilometers (6,200 miles) to Madrid after fan trouble caused the original fixture to be twice postponed.