CONMEBOL suspends Independiente-Gremio Libertadores qualifier


QUITO, April 6 (Xinhua) — Independiente del Valle’s home Copa Libertadores qualifier against Gremio has been postponed and shifted to a neutral venue because of a COVID-19 outbreak in the Brazilian club’s squad, the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) said on Tuesday.

The fixture, which had been scheduled to be played in Ecuadorian capital Quito on Wednesday, will now take place in Asuncion, Paraguay, on Friday.

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“The reason for the suspension is [due to the] previously approved health protocol and the current competition regulations,” read a statement on CONMEBOL’s official website.

Earlier, Ecuadorian health authorities prohibited the Brazilian team from training after full-back Vanderson Campos and goalkeeper Paulo Victor were diagnosed with the virus on Tuesday morning.

Gremio manager Renato Gaucho tested positive on Monday and did not travel with the squad.

Ecuadorian officials confirmed that they had asked CONMEBOL to suspend and reschedule the match.

“The health of Ecuadorians is much more important than a game of football,” interior minister Gabriel Martinez told a news conference.

CONMEBOL did not immediately say if the return leg, slated for the southern Brazilian city of Porto Alegre on April 14, would also be played at a neutral venue.

The winner of the tie will earn a place in the Copa Libertadores group stage, which begins on April 20.

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