World Cup qualifier: FIFA to investigate possible ineligibility of Ecuador player

Zurich (Switzerland), May 11 (IANS) FIFA on Wednesday said that it has opened an investigation into allegations that Ecuador fielded an ineligible player in its World Cup qualifying campaign.

The Chilean Football Federation last week 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.

“FIFA has decided to open disciplinary proceedings in relation to the potential ineligibility of Byron David Castillo Segura with regard to the above-mentioned matches,” FIFA said in a statement.

“In this context, the FEF (Ecuadoran Football Association) and the Peruvian Football Association have been invited to submit their positions to the FIFA Disciplinary Committee,” it added.

If allegations found true, under Fifa rules Ecuador could have to forfeit their World Cup place.

Ecuador finished fourth in Conmebol qualifying and claimed an automatic place at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar ahead of Peru, who must play Australia or the United Arab Emirates in a play-off in June. Chile finished seventh.

Castillo played in eight of Ecuador’s 18 qualifiers, matches in which they picked up 14 of their 26 points. But Chile say that Ecuador should forfeit the eight games Castillo played in, and their opponents be awarded three points for each of them. That would see Chile leapfrog Colombia and Peru into the fourth automatic spot.