The Football Federation of Chile filed a claim Wednesday for FIFA to investigate the Ecuadorian Football Federation of fielding an ineligible player during 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying.
Chile sent in documentation to the FIFA Disciplinary Committee that reportedly shows that Ecuador winger Byron Castillo used “a false birth certificate, false statement of age and false nationality.” Per documents obtained by the New York Times, Chile claims that Castillo was actually born in Colombia and is three years older than what his Ecuadorian document lists.
Under FIFA rules, playing an ineligible player could result in a forfeit, or several of them. Castillo took to the pitch in eight qualifiers, including both fixtures against Chile. The two teams played to a draw during the first leg, with Ecuador defeating Chile, 2-0, in the second leg. Should Ecuador be forced to forfeit every game Castillo played in as Chile is demanding, that would lift Chile into Ecuador’s spot for the World Cup.
“All this, obviously, was fully known by the [Ecuadorean Federation],” the Football Federation of Chile said in a statement. “The world of soccer cannot close its eyes to this much proof. The practice of serious and deliberate irregularities in the registration of players cannot be accepted, especially when we are talking about a world competition. There must be fair play on and off the field.”
Ecuador earned South America’s final automatic berth into the World Cup after finishing fourth in CONMEBOL during the qualifying stage. Chile, meanwhile, finished seventh in the standings behind Peru and Colombia.
Much has been made of Castillo’s eligibility in the past, as the Times reported last year that Ecuador had held off on playing him until this year.
“I think it’s a matter of playing it safe, avoiding problems,” said Carlos Manzur, vice president of the Ecuadorian Football Federation, via the Times. “I think he is a good player. If it were up to me, I would not have him play for the national team. I would not take that risk. I would not risk everything we are doing.”
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