ASUNCION (Reuters) – The prize pot for the Copa Libertadores will more than double next year, the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) said on Monday, but the continental championship will still trail a long way behind the European Champions League.
Clubs competing in South America’s premier club competition will share $161.9 million in 2019, up 56 percent from $103.85m this year, with the champions expected to bank at least $20.4 million (16.16 million pounds), CONMEBOL president Alejandro Dominguez said.
“Our administration is keeping its promise to generate more value for South American football and reinvesting it in development,” Dominguez said at the draw for the 2019 tournament in Paraguay.
By comparison, UEFA will distribute 1.94 billion Euros (1.74 billion pounds) to the clubs that qualified for the Champions League group stage in 2018/19.
This season’s Copa Libertadores ended in turmoil in late November after riotous scenes outside the second leg of the all-Argentine final between River Plate and Boca Juniors forced the match to be postponed.
The match eventually took place in Madrid two weeks later with River beating their arch rivals 3-1 to lift the title for the fourth time.
The holders were drawn in a group alongside Internacional (Brazil), Alianza Lima (Peru), and another qualifier when the draw was made for the 2019 tournament on Monday.
Boca play Athletico Paranaense (Brazil), Jorge Wilsterman (Bolivia), and Colombian side Tolima.
Some 47 teams will take part in the competition, which kicks off on Jan. 22 and ends in Santiago on Nov. 23.
This year marks the first time in history that the final will take place in a one-off match at a neutral venue.
(Reporting by Andrew Downie, editing by Nick Mulvenney)