Huge security operation for Libertadores final in Madrid

Source: Xinhua| 2018-12-05 20:50:20|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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MADRID, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- Authorities in the Spanish capital of Madrid are preparing wide-scale security measures ahead of the second leg of the final of the Copa Libertadores to be played in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on December 9th.

The match between bitter rivals Boca Juniors and River Plate should have been played in River's Estadio Monumental on November 24th, but was postponed due to numerous crowd incidents which saw missiles hurled at the Boca team bus.

After touting several possible venues, including Paraguay, Miami and Doha, the decision was taken last week to play it in Madrid.

Around 10,000 fans are expected to travel from Argentina for the game, along with members of the 250,000 strong Argentinean community in Spain and Argentinean residents in other parts of Europe.

Given the enmity between both sets of supporters, this will create a huge security headache on what is a holiday weekend in the Spanish capital, which traditionally attracts visitors from all over Spain to do their Christmas shopping.

The Spanish Government Delegate in Madrid, Jose Manuel Rodriguez Uribes, has called a meeting of local and national police for Friday morning. Although the number of police on duty has yet to be confirmed, the Spanish media report it is likely to be "much higher" than the 2,500 agents who are on duty for a 'Clasico' between Spain's two bitterest rivals - Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Spanish authorities have confirmed that Argentina will also send some police over to help control rival supporters, with "a delegation of specialists in sporting security, given the magnitude of the event and the need to control both sets of fans."

The Paseo de la Castellana (the main road through the heart of Madrid) will be cut to traffic on the day of the match with Fanzones for rival supporters, with River Plate supporters kept to the north of the Bernabeu and Boca fans to the south and with fans bussed directly to their respective zone after arrival at the airport.

There are also worries that radical Argentinean fans may have been in contact with Spanish 'ultras' with the aim of organizing fights between rival sets of fans.