BUENOS AIRES (JTA) — A group of Sabbath-observant Jewish soccer fans from Argentina traveled to Spain for the weekend so that they could see the final match of an important soccer tournament in real time, but the game was rained out.
The fans planned to watch the final match of the Copa Libertadores de America, the Liberators of the Americas Cup, between Argentine rivals Boca Juniors and River Plate. They traveled from Argentina to Spain so that they could watch the game on Saturday afternoon in Argentina from Spain, where Shabbat ends four hours before it does Buenos Aires.
The Copa Libertadores, which is equivalent to the European Champions League, is the most prestigious tournament of the region and has been held since 1960. This year for the first time two Argentinean teams will face each other in the final match, after defeating teams from Brazil, Colombia and Uruguay.
The presidents of the arch-rival clubs both has asked unsuccessfully to change the games from Saturdays to Sundays in order to allow Jewish fans to attend the games or watch them on television.
The two legs of the finals matches were set to be held on Saturdays November 10 and November 24, both at 5 pm.
A group of friends, who are Boca Juniors fans, began to share WhatsApp messages in which they worried about how to watch the match. One came up with the idea of traveling to avoid the Shabbat start time… and the idea grew. The plan was to travel from Buenos Aires to Barcelona, more than 6,000 miles away and four hours ahead.
The news of the special trip was covered heavily by local media and went viral. https://www.lanacion.com.ar/2189704-boca-river-viajar-europa-inedita-decision-grupo-amigos
Due to heavy rains and the large amount of water on the field, the match scheduled for Saturday was rescheduled for Sunday. It is not known if the group planned to remain in Spain to watch the match or return to Buenos Aires on Sunday.
The rescheduled match day also will allow the opening of the Kosher fast food kiosk at the stadium in Buenos Aires, that would have remained closed if the game had been played Saturday.
In August Boca Juniors inaugurated the first permanent kosher fast food kiosk in a soccer stadium in Latin America.
Boca Juniors, a team founded in 1905, has played in the first division since 1913, becoming the most successful team from Argentina with 67 titles, 22 of them internationals cups. It has won the last two cups in the Superliga, the national first division league.