Ecuador will play in the 2022 football World Cup in Qatar after FIFA on Friday dismissed Chile’s claims that they had fielded an ineligible player in the qualifiers.
The Chilean Football Federation last month filed a complaint with world football’s governing body claiming that Ecuador’s Byron Castillo is in fact Colombian, and has falsified his age. Chile claimed that the 23-year-old defender used a false birth certificate and nationality to register as Ecuadorian.
The world football’s governing body on May 11 opened an investigation into allegations and on Friday it said that after considering all elements it has decided to “close proceedings” against the Ecuadorian Football Federation.
“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 (Ecuadorian Football Federation),” FIFA said in a statement.
“The present decision remains subject to an appeal before the FIFA Appeal Committee,” it added.
Ecuador picked up 14 of their 26 points in matches Castillo played. If they had lost points for the games in which Castillo appeared, they would have missed out on a place in Qatar. However, the latest decision confirms Ecuador’s place in Group A with hosts Qatar, Senegal and the Netherlands, a BBC report.
The Ecuadorian FA president Francisco Egas welcomed FIFA’s decision.
“We celebrate it more because we felt humiliated, we felt trampled by the great media campaign from the Chilean federation,” said Egas.
On the other hand, Pablo Milad, the president of Chile’s football federation, said it would appeal and take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) if required.
“We are losing 1-0, but there is still the second half. The Fifa ruling surprisingly did not favour us despite strong evidence. We will wait for the arguments and we will appeal,” said Milad.
(Inputs from IANS)