Fifa has concluded its investigation into allegations of an ineligible player being used by the ecuadorian football federation (fef) during world cup qualification as the nation’s place at qatar 2022 hung in the balance.
According to a claim filed by the Chilean federation, Ecuador fielded an ineligible player, Byron Castillo, during World Cup qualification and the dispute was that the tri should be eliminated from the World Cup after qualifying for Qatar 2022 as the fourth-placed team in South America.
fifa opened its investigation procedures on May 11 and issued its ruling almost a month later on June 10:
“after analyzing the presentations of all the parties involved and considering all the elements presented before it, the fifa disciplinary committee has decided to close the process initiated against the fef [ecuador]. … this decision remains subject to appeal to the fifa appeal committee.”
Chile, which finished seventh in the South American standings, insists that Castillo was ineligible and that the Chilean team should win the World Cup berth over Ecuador given that they played two matches against Ecuador in which Castillo played.
Reports indicate Chile will appeal the decision, including potentially to the Court of Sports Arbitration (CAS).
Ecuador, meanwhile, is set to retain its place in the World Cup, where it was drawn in Group A at the 2022 World Cup along with hosts Qatar, the Netherlands and Senegal.
more: complete detail of group a of the 2022 world cup
why was ecuador investigated by fifa?
Fifa’s investigation concerned the eligibility of Ecuador’s international fullback, Byron Castillo.
The governing body of world soccer opened an investigation into the deployment of Castillo by Ecuador during the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers. The Chilean federation claimed to have proof that Castillo, who plays for Ecuadorian club Barcelona de Guayaquil, was born in Tumaco, Colombia and that the 23-year-old has been using a forged birth certificate and passport.
castillo played in eight world cup qualifiers for ecuador, in which the country added 15 of its 26 points. Of those eight games, Castillo started seven and played 614 minutes, assisting one goal.
On June 8, the lawyer for the Chilean federation’s case, Eduardo Carlezzo, stated that his side presented all the evidence to FIFA and stated that Ecuador would be disqualified from the World Cup.
“[castillo’s] parents were married in tumaco, byron was born in tumaco and was baptized in tumaco,” said carlezzo, quoted by tv azteca in mexico. “The idea of this [investigation] is to present in a fairly clear and transparent way all the arguments we have, the documents we have. whoever tells the truth cannot be afraid [of the truth].”
Fifa finally did not side with the Chilean federation.
could ecuador still be expelled from the world cup?
Fifa did not substantiate Chile’s claim that Castillo was ineligible to play Ecuador, so the Tri remains in the 2022 World Cup. However, Chile could still appeal the decision.
if an appeal is successful, one potential outcome would be the removal of all points ecuador gained in the eight matches in which castillo played, rather than awarding those opponents the victories lost in the eight matches. That would leave Ecuador with just 11 points in the South American (CONMEBOL) standings, meaning the country would fall to ninth place in the 10-team table, leaving it out of the qualifying positions. that’s a scenario that would see chile move up to a qualifying spot.
If chile’s appeals result in ecuador being kicked out of the standings, that could result in all 18 matches being eliminated. That course of action could potentially see Colombia move ahead of Chile.
There is no official news of any appeal from the Chilean federation, although reports indicate that it is likely.
Who could replace Ecuador in the World Cup if Chile appeals the FIFA ruling?
although chile is the nation that reported ecuador to fifa in hopes of earning its place in the 2022 world cup, it is not guaranteed that chile will be the team that replaces ecuador in qatar if it continues with the process of appeal and proves to be successful. .
how chile could replace ecuador
If Castillo’s eight games in Ecuador were changed to 3-0 losses, Chile would rise from seventh to fourth in the standings, an automatic qualifying position. Castillo played in both games and Chile was left with only one point out of a possible six.
Meanwhile, Castillo did not play in either of the two matches against Colombia or Peru. Therefore, if Chile were to gain an additional five points in the standings, they would be the ones to finish fourth ahead of Peru in the goal differential tiebreaker (Chile’s new goal differential of +1 would be better than Chile’s goal differential of +1). of -3.) in that case, Peru would maintain their position in fifth place, which has them playing the intercontinental qualifying playoff (currently, Peru will face Australia on June 13).
how colombia or peru could replace ecuador
If a successful appeal by Chile results in Ecuador being excluded from qualification altogether and the next team in the table being taken, Chile would not be the first team elevated to a qualification spot.
In this alternate scenario, Peru would be elevated to an automatic qualifying position (4th place), while Colombia, the team that finished outside the qualifying zone in 6th place, would see their world cup hopes revived as fifth. place playoff team.
This last course of action seems very unlikely because it would bring with it serious logistical problems. Peru is currently in Qatar preparing to play in the intercontinental qualifying knockout match against Australia on June 13. if Peru were moved to fourth place and Colombia moved up to fifth, it would mean that the Colombian side would have to contest the intercontinental playoff, and the game would almost certainly have to be rearranged given the change of participants in such a short time.
has a team ever been disqualified from the world cup?
There is precedent for a team being banned from the World Cup for fielding an ineligible player or other punishable offences.
Chile was subject to a 1994 World Cup ban after goalkeeper Roberto Rojas faked an injury during 1990 World Cup qualifying. Rojas was found to have used a concealed razor blade to cut himself, making it look like he was injured by a flare that never hit him. the Chilean players refused to retake the pitch after the incident citing security concerns, but video showed the sequence of events to be a hoax. The 2-0 forfeit loss was enough to eliminate Chile from the 1990 World Cup and see it later punished with a suspension from the 1994 competition.
Mexico was excluded from the 1990 World Cup after the “cachirules” scandal, in which it fielded four over-age players in the CONCACAF under-20 championships.
In 2011, Syria was eliminated from Asia World Cup qualification for the 2014 tournament after fielding player George Mourad in both legs of a second-round tie against Tajikistan. Mourad had represented Sweden at youth level and did not formally complete FIFA approval of him for a change to the national team, so he is not eligible to participate with any other nation.
A wild series of suspensions of ineligible players resulted in a lot of confusion in 2013.
African minnows from Cape Verde had surprisingly reached the final round of Africa’s World Cup qualification for the 2014 tournament, hoping to become the smallest nation to ever qualify for a World Cup. the nation came one step closer to mission completion after beating tunisia in the last game of the group stage, finishing top of the four-team group and earning a bye to the final round. however, it was determined that cabo verde fielded an ineligible player in fernando varela, who should have missed the match due to suspension after receiving a red card in a previous match.
Cape Verde argued that because the game in which Varela was sent off was changed to an abandonment due to Equatorial Guinea fielding an ineligible player, Varela’s red card and subsequent suspension were overturned. But FIFA disagreed and changed the result to a 3–0 Tunisia win, seeing them top the group instead. tunisia would not make it to the world cup, falling at the last hurdle.
most recently, russia was disqualified from all uefa and fifa competitions last february after the country’s invasion of ukraine, meaning the european nation was eliminated from uefa world cup qualification and didn’t make it to the 2022 world cup.
However, none of the aforementioned countries had secured a place in the world cup before the disqualification. in all cases, the country’s participation was canceled before qualification was secured. If Ecuador had been disqualified, it would have represented an unprecedented decision by FIFA.