Chile loses bid to replace Ecuador in World Cup over Byron Castillo case

Chile’s bid to exclude South American rival Ecuador from the World Cup failed on Friday when a disciplinary commission under football’s global governing body dismissed a claim that Ecuador had fielded an ineligible player in several qualifying matches.

The case concerns the defender Byron Castillo, who, according to Chile, was not only born in Colombia, but also three years older than indicated in the documents that identified him as an Ecuadorian. The Chilean Football Federation has submitted registration documents, including birth certificates, which it says support its claim.

According to the rules of FIFA’s governing body, the fielding of an ineligible player may result in a ineligibility to participate in any match in which the ineligible player has taken part.

Ecuador finished fourth in the Continental Qualifiers, taking one of South America’s four automatic places in the World Cup. But Chile demanded that Ecuador forfeit eight of Castillo’s qualifying games and that his opponents in those matches receive three points per game. According to the calculations of Chilean officials, this result will change the results of qualification in South America and lead Chile to the World Cup at the expense of Ecuador.

FIFA said its officials reviewed submissions by all parties involved in the case, including Peru, which will compete next week in an intercontinental play-off for its seat in Qatar, before concluding that Ecuador had no basis for response.

Chile said it would appeal the decision.

“We are alarmed by this decision,” said Eduardo Carlezzo, a lawyer representing the Chilean federation. “The amount of evidence is overwhelming, from both Colombia and Ecuador, proving beyond any reasonable doubt that the player was born in Colombia. Therefore, we will file an appeal and hope that this evidence will be fully taken into account.”

ecuadorian football federation issued a statement after Chile filed a lawsuit in May dismissing so-called “false rumors” about Castillo, who it said was an Ecuadorian citizen in a legal and sporting sense.

“We categorically reject any attempts by those who seek to avoid our participation in the World Cup in Qatar, legally received on the field,” the federation said at the time.

Castillo’s story has been shrouded in questions for several years after a wider investigation into Ecuador’s player registration dealt with hundreds of cases and resulted in the punishment of at least 75 young players found guilty. falsified records. Fearing a mistake that could jeopardize Ecuador’s World Cup hopes this year, national football federation officials have delayed Castillo’s selection to the senior national team until this year.

In fact, two years ago, the president of a special commission of inquiry convened by the federation suggested that Castillo was Colombian, which Chilean officials continued to claim they confirmed.