It’s officially official: Ecuador is going to the 2022 World Cup after FIFA rejected Chile’s claim that their South American counterparts fielded an ineligible player during the qualifying stage.
FIFA said Friday that its disciplinary committee closed the proceedings, after Chile claimed that Ecuador right back Byron Castillo was actually born in Colombia and had the documentation to prove it. Chile alleged that Castillo, 23, is three years older than what his Ecuadorian document lists.
“After analyzing 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 [Ecuador soccer federation],” FIFA said in a statement, via Sports Illustrated.
Ecuador earned South America’s final berth into the World Cup after finishing fourth in CONMEBOL. Chile, meanwhile, finished seventh in the standings behind Peru and Colombia. Ecuador was at the risk of forfeiting all eight games in which Castillo played in, including two fixtures against Chile, which ended in a draw and an Ecuador victory.
As a result, Chile would have risen to fourth in the standings and taken Ecuador’s spot. If Ecuador would have been disqualified, the spot would have gone to Peru. Chile can challenge the ruling at FIFA’s appeals committee and possibly later at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
But as of now, Ecuador is set to feature in Group A at the World Cup, which includes host country Qatar, the Netherlands and Senegal. The tournament is scheduled to be played from Nov. 21-Dec. 18.