A saga that could’ve seen Ecuador miss the World Cup and Chile somehow through has finally come to an end. On Friday, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee closed the case against the Ecuadorian federation on whether right back Byron Castillo had falsified his documents and was deemed ineligible for COMENBOL qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
The initial complaint raised by Chile in May was that Castillo wasn’t eligible for Ecuador as they alleged that he had to falsified his documents to grant him Ecuadorian nationality. It was alleged by Chile’s lawyers that Castillo was born in Tumaco, Colombia, in 1995. Instead, the player’s actual records show that he was born in 1998 in General Villamil, Ecuador.
The Ecuadorian federation, if deemed guilty, would have been forced to forfeit the eight games that Castillo appeared in. In theory, that would have seen Chile bumped up in the standings and into the World Cup. Chile have taken advantage of this in the past as Bolivia was sanctioned in 2016 for fielding Nelson Cabrera.
Here’s more from FIFA:
The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has rendered its decision in relation to the potential ineligibility of the player Byron David Castillo Segura with regard to his participation in eight qualifying matches of the national team of the Ecuadorian Football Association (FEF) in the preliminary competition of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.
After analysing the submissions of all parties concerned and considering all elements brought before it, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee has decided to close the proceedings initiated against the FEF.
The Disciplinary Committee’s findings were notified today to the parties concerned. In accordance with the relevant provisions of the FIFA Disciplinary Code, the parties have ten days in which to request a motivated decision, which, if requested, would subsequently be published on legal.fifa.com. The present decision remains subject to an appeal before the FIFA Appeal Committee.
But FIFA’s review of documents and month-long probe have shown that in their eyes, Castillo is properly eligible for Ecuador, causing them to seal the case shut. For what it’s worth, the Chilean federation will have 10 days to request an appeal, so this may not be over just yet. For Ecuador, this means that they can continue to focus on their own World Cup plans while FIFA won’t need to figure out replacement plans at the last minute. As things stand, Ecuador and Castillo will head to Qatar as part of group A. That includes Qatar, Senegal and the Netherlands. Their opening match vs. Qatar takes place on Nov. 21 at 11 a.m. ET (Full World Cup schedule and game-by-game predictions here).