Lacalle’s football vaccine push pays off, Uruguay to host Libertadores final

libertadores uruguay
Reigning champions Palmeiras (white) plays Deportivo Del Valle in Ecuador. Photo: Cesar Greco/SEP

The efforts of Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou to negotiate a donation of 50,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses from Chinese lab Sinovac to South American football’s governing body Conmebol has yielded positive results for his country. The Uruguayan capital of Montevideo was announced as host city of the final of the 2021 Copa Libertadores, South America’s answer to the Champions League.

The match itself will take place on November 30 at the Estadio Centenário, which hosted the first-ever World Cup Final in 1930. 

Mr. Lacalle Pou was highly criticized for mediating the vaccine donation, especially as Paraguay — where Conmebol is headquartered — struggles to immunize its own population. 

However, as we explained in the May 12 edition of the  Latin America Weekly newsletter, Mr. Lacalle Pou hoped to use the measure to establish good relations with football authorities, as his country wants to bring the World Cup back to Uruguay in 2030, on the 100th anniversary of the first tournament.

Hosting the Copa Libertadores final could serve as a dress rehearsal.