FIFA confirms Ecuador for the World Cup; rejects Chile’s complaint

Ecuador kept its ticket to the World Cup on Friday, when a FIFA legal ruling rejected a complaint from Chile about a supposedly ineligible player.

FIFA indicated that its disciplinary committee closed the proceedings of the accusation, according to which, the Ecuadorian defender Byron Castillo, who participated in eight matches of the World Cup qualifier, was not eligible to play.

“Today I think sporting justice has been done. I think Ecuador is still thinking about the World Cup,” said Francisco Egas, president of the Ecuadorian Football Federation, at a press conference. “We slept peacefully, knowing that we had done well, knowing that we had done everything in compliance with the regulations, the decisions of our authorities and that is why I believe that today we continue to celebrate the fact that Ecuador is going to play in a World Cup”.

The National Association of Professional Football of Chile (ANFP) claimed to have documents that prove that Castillo is actually Colombian.

Ecuador ran the risk of losing even the eight games in which Castillo participated, 3-0. It would have thus fallen from fourth place in the South American qualifiers, the last one that granted a direct ticket to Qatar.

The tie ended in March.

Chile would have risen from seventh to fourth place in the standings and secured the last automatic ticket for Qatar. Ecuador qualified with 26 points, and Chile finished with 19.

Peru, fifth in the table, is preparing to play a playoff against Australia.

“After analyzing the submissions of all the parties involved and considering all the elements presented to it, the FIFA disciplinary committee has decided to close the proceedings initiated against (the FEF),” FIFA announced in a statement.

In Chile, the president of the ANFP, Pablo Milad, said that “we have a negative ruling, but we are going to continue with the same force, with the same conviction, until the end.”

He added that, after the foundations of the FIFA ruling are known, the ANFP will go to the disciplinary committee of the governing body and, if things go wrong, they will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (TAS).

The legal process could take at least several weeks, which would prolong the uncertainty until very close to the tournament that will be played in Qatar from November 21 to December 18.

According to the ANFP, there is numerous evidence that Castillo “was born in Colombia, in the city of Tumaco,” and not in the Ecuadorian town of General Villamil Playas (near Guayaquil),” according to Eduardo Carlezzo, ANFP lawyer.

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The draw for the World Cup was held on April 1 and Ecuador shares a group with hosts Qatar, the Netherlands and Senegal.

At a press conference, Egas commented that “Ecuador, its press and its fans have to know that they are still in the World Cup, they have to enjoy it and that is what all our efforts have to be focused on.”

“We celebrate it more because we feel harassed, trampled by the great media campaign carried out by the Chilean federation and especially its lawyer to position a version in which the Federation was doubted and not only that, but also the behavior of the authorities. of our country. That’s why we celebrate it, “he said.

Detail that the Federation reviews the matter and has left it in the hands of the lawyers so that they “analyze all the statements, the writings, both from the Chilean Football Association and from the lawyer (Eduardo) Carlezzo”, who carried out the Chilean lawsuit.

For his part, the Argentine Gustavo Alfaro, coach of the Ecuadorian team, said at a press conference from Miami, that “there was never a day, not a morning or a training session, not a moment that we did not think that those of us who had not earned with rights on the field was going to remain in that place, beyond the media pressure”.

“There are things that turn your stomach and these were (like) those things,” he said. “I told the boys that they didn’t wear anything to celebrate, not at all, we celebrated after the game with Paraguay when we qualified for the World Cup”.

Ecuador and Chile last played in a World Cup in the 2014 edition organized by Brazil. Ecuador did not advance from the group stage and Chile was eliminated by the hosts in the round of 16.

Both missed the 2018 World Cup in Russia after Chile also filed a complaint alleging that a rival team fielded an ineligible player.

That case — involving Bolivian defender Nelson Cabrera, who was born in Paraguay — was successful, but it ultimately benefited Peru, which moved past Chile in the table to reach the playoffs and advance to Russia.

Peru is back in the international playoffs next week, after again placing fifth in the South American group. They face Australia on Monday in Doha for a place in the finals.


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