Zurich (Switzerland), Sep 17 (IANS) Ecuador are set to retain their place at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar after FIFA’s appeals committee dismissed a claim of ineligibility against their player Byron Castillo.
Castillo played in eight World Cup qualifiers for Ecuador but the Chilean Football Association (FFCH) claimed the 23-year-old used a false birth certificate to register as Ecuadorian.
Chile complained to the game’s global governing body over Castillo and argued that Ecuador should forfeit the World Cup qualifying matches he had played in.
The FIFA disciplinary committee closed the proceedings in June but the Chileans appealed, leading to a new hearing before the appeals committee. However, that too has now been dismissed as FIFA’s appeals committee said that Castillo does qualify for Ecuador.
“Having analysed the submissions of all parties and after a hearing had been conducted, the Appeal Committee confirmed the decision of the Disciplinary Committee to close the proceedings initiated against the FEF. Amongst other considerations, it deemed that on the basis of the documents presented, the player was to be considered as holding permanent Ecuadorian nationality in accordance with art. 5 par. 1 of the FIFA Regulations Governing the Application of the Statutes,” FIFA said in a statement.
“The findings of the decision passed by the Appeal Committee were notified to the parties concerned today,” it added.
The Chilean federation could now take their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the FFCH confirmed it will appeal.
“I have never seen in my entire life as a lawyer an injustice like this one. There are a huge number of documents that, alone, prove without any reasonable doubt that the player was born in Colombia,” FFCH lawyer Eduardo Carlezzo was quoted as saying by BBC.
“In addition to that, everyone heard his confession, given during an official investigation carried out by the Ecuadorian Federation. It’s a sad day for football and for fair play. The message is clear: cheating is allowed,” he added.
Ecuador claimed the fourth and final automatic World Cup place from the South American qualifiers, with Peru fifth and Chile seventh in the standings. They are due to play hosts Qatar in the opening match of the 2022 World Cup on November 20 and will also face the Netherlands and Senegal in Group A.