Chile’s capital city Santiago has been chosen by CONMEBOL as the venue for the first single Copa Libertadores final in the competition’s long history.
The Libertadores has been held uninterruptedly since 1960, and is regarded as the most important club competition in South American football.
Legends like Pele, Ricardo Bochini, Zico and Alberto Spencer are among its former winners, while in more recent times the likes of Juan Roman Riquelme, Carlos Tevez, Ronaldinho, Neymar and Juan Sebastian Veron have triumphed.
Due to the vast extent of the South American continent and the difficulty many fans have in travelling, the Copa has traditionally been decided over a two-legged final, with each team playing once in front of their own fans.
But from 2019 onwards the competition will mimic the Champions League format of a one-off match, which will be played in Santiago on Saturday, November 23 next year.
“In a Committee meeting held today [Tuesday] two historic decisions were taken. Santiago de Chile will host the one-off final of the CONMEBOL Libertadores 2019,” CONMEBOL confirmed in a statement released on the federation’s official website.
It was further confirmed that Lima, Peru, which had been in the running for hosting duties, will be the venue for the final of the second-tier Copa Sudamericana, which also switches to the new system from 2019 onwards.
“These decisions are in line with our strategic goal of improving the sporting development of South American football through greater resources, more investment and better standards across the board,” CONMEBOL president Alejandro Dominguez signalled.
“Besides generating more income to re-invest in sporting development, the single finals will be a great opportunity for South America to take a big leap forward in sporting infrastructure, event organisation, security controls, comfort and services in our stadiums, and in the regional and world promotion of our tournaments, clubs and players.
“The single finals of the CONMEBOL Libertadores and Sudamericana will be events that inspire all us South Americans to think big.”
Brazil’s Gremio are the current holders of the Libertadores, having beaten Argentina’s Lanus across two legs in 2017.
Independiente, meanwhile, the most decorated side in Libertadores history with a total of seven trophies, hold the Sudamericana title having beaten Flamengo in last year’s final.
This year’s Libertadores, the last to be played with the two-legged final format, is currently in the last-16 phase, with the second legs to be disputed in the last week of August.