The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) has reiterated its desire to resume the Copa Libertadores in September as it plots a way forward amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
South America’s premier club competition was suspended in mid-March and, after weeks of uncertainty, officials say they are now preparing guidelines for football’s return.
“We are listening to doctors and physicians to put together the best health and travel protocols,” CONMEBOL development director Gonzalo Belloso told Argentina’s Ole newspaper, reports Xinhua news agency.
“We understand that if squads travel around South America privately, along with preventive measures on arrival, accommodation and training, it will be easier to control,” he added.
The comments came a day after CONMEBOL representatives held a virtual conference with coaches and medical experts across the region to discuss a plan for the sport’s resumption.
There was a consensus among participants that players would need at least six weeks of training to be ready following more than three months of home confinement.
Belloso said the contrasting trends of the pandemic among South American nations and regions posed a major challenge to CONMEBOL’s efforts.
“We know how the situation is in each country and that there are some that are more clear about returning than others,” he said. “And it has a lot to do with how the virus is affecting them. There is no need to rush anything, although we continue to believe that in September we will be able to play in all of South America.”
He said the Copa Libertadores and the second-tier Copa Sudamericana could finish in January, if necessary.