BARRIO – Ecuador will retain its place at the 2022 World Cup after a FIFA investigation into a player’s allegedly falsified birth certificate failed to find evidence that would disqualify the South American nation.
Soccer’s global governing body said Friday that, after analyzing the case of Ecuadorian defender Byron Castillo, it had closed disciplinary proceedings and, in essence, rejected Chile’s bid to seize Ecuador’s place at the World Cup.
Chile’s soccer federation, citing “irregularities” in Castillo’s documentation and “innumerable proofs” that he was not born in Ecuador, had filed an official complaint to FIFA, whose disciplinary committee took up the case last month. Chile believed that if Castillo were ruled ineligible, and Ecuador handed retroactive forfeits, the Chileans could jump from seventh to fourth in the South American table and qualify for Qatar 2022 after all.
But FIFA ruled that no disciplinary action would be taken, and Ecuadorian soccer officials celebrated. The Ecuadorian federation’s president, Francisco Egas, said that “sports justice has been done.”
Chile has 10 days to challenge the ruling. It reportedly plans to file an appeal, first to FIFA’s appeal committee and then, potentially, to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. But for now, Ecuador remains comfortably qualified for the World Cup, which begins Nov. 21. Its official Twitter account reacted to the news with a single emoji.