Soccer-South America federation confident of Libertadores restart this year

Credit: REUTERS/JORGE ADORNO

By Daniela Desantis

ASUNCION, April 3 (Reuters) - Alejandro Dominguez, president of South America's soccer federation, says the Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana will not be scrapped this year and is optimistic football will return even if means playing games with no fans present.

The tournaments, CONMEBOL's equivalent of UEFA's Champions League and Europa League, were suspended last month as the coronavirus outbreak gathered pace in South America.

"The Libertadores can start up again when the local championships restart, although the capacity for transportation is also important bearing in mind most countries have closed their borders," Dominguez told Reuters.

A total of 76 of the continent’s top teams are still involved in the competitions, which are scheduled to end in November.

Asked when he thought football might resume, and how the game would look after the restart, the Paraguayan said: "I find it hard to make any analysis because right now we are still quite shocked.

"I think things will return to normal but it is going to take time. And of course I want to see full stadiums but if the way to get football back again is to play without fans then that is the way we will play."

Global cases of the coronavirus surpassed 1 million on Thursday with more than 52,000 deaths, according to a Reuters tally based on country by country data.

(Writing by Andrew Downie in London; Editing by Peter Rutherford )

((andrew.downie@thomsonreuters.com; +55 11 99995-9571;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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