River Plate have announced they will undertake an important redevelopment of their emblematic Monumental stadium, a move that will see the famed football club play matches away from their home ground.
Los Millonarios will therefore play their next matches in the Copa Libertadores and Primera División outside of Buenos Aires or on rented pitches elsewhere.
Marcelo Gallardo’s side will confirm its decision to CONMEBOL (South American football’s governing body) in the coming days, which will have to define the conditions for River’s Copa Libertadores group-stage matches scheduled for September 30 against São Paulo and October 20 against Ecuador’s Liga de Quito.
On Tuesday, the Health Ministry authorised five teams, including River, to resume training as from August 10 after almost five months of inactivity. Other teams in the top two tiers of the Argentine football pyramid will have to wait until the start of September.
With spectators unlikely to return to stadiums for months to come, as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to spread, River say they change "the entire pitch into a super-modern hybrid system, which will definitively end many of the problems faced by this country’s playing grounds."
Club executives want the side to play out this season’s matches at River Camp, the club’s Ezeiza training complex until activity in the Monumental can be resumed.
River’s proposal resembles one followed by Real Madrid, which played its last Spanish league matches at the Alfredo Di Stéfano stadium, usually the home ground of its B-team Real Madrid Castilla, whose capacity is limited to 6,000 spectators, more than enough for a period of matches without public due to sanitary restrictions.
River’s main pitch at Ezeiza has eight lighting towers to train and play at night but until now it has not the proper infrastructure for television transmission so that the Cup finalists would have to rent another stadium to play at if they do not receive authorisation from CONMEBOL. Fans would not be allowed to attend, however.
The remodelling will include eliminating the athletic track surrounding the field, which has not been used for decades, as well as constructing additional stands in that space while the pitch will be lowered from its current height to bring the stands closer.
River are also said to be looking at other options within the City. The stadiums of local sides Huracán and Vélez Sarsfield have been circulating as potential venues in the local press. Other options include Racing and Independiente's home grounds, as well as the Estadio Único de La Plata.
Boca Juniors' La Bombonera is, naturally, off the table.