Copa America final still set for Monumental

The Monumental in Buenos Aires has been cleared to host the Copa America final later this month, despite damage caused by River Plate fans.River’s relegation to Argentina’s second division on June 26 sparked scenes of fury at the 62,000-seat stadium, as rioting spectators tore around 4000 seats from their fixtures, shattered glass windows and barriers and ripped up the pitch.

The damage prompted concerns the Monumental would not be able to host the July 24 final – the only match of the South American tournament scheduled to take place in the Argentine capital.

But work crews have made progress in undoing much of the destruction, and Copa America organising committee president Jose Luis Meiszner is confident the Monumental will be in top condition in time for the showpiece game.

“It’s going to be tight but we’ll get there,” Meiszner told reporters following an inspection of the stadium on Wednesday.

“We were worried about it (but) the mere possibility of having to think about a change (of venue) would have been pathetic.”

Just one day earlier, Meiszner expressed fears the Monumental would not be ready ‘for an event of this magnitude’ and said alternative venues should be considered.

“As organizers, our desire is not to change anything,” he said.

“But today we have a stadium … that is not in condition for the final. As president of the organising committee, I have to be assured the final can be held there, and there is not much time.”

The Estadio Unico in La Plata is one venue that has been touted as a possible replacement, however the playing surface was widely criticised following Argentina’s opening match against Bolivia last Friday.