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Chile make shock request to FIFA to replace Ecuador at World Cup amid claims they picked ineligible player

16:49 GMT+3 05/05/2022
Byron Castillo Ecuador Chile World Cup qualifier
The South American nation believe that they have been unfairly denied an opportunity to secure a spot at Qatar 2022

Chile have made a shock request to FIFA asking that they be granted qualification for the 2022 World Cup at the expense of Ecuador, who are alleged to have fielded an ineligible player in qualifying.

The man in question is defender Byron Castillo, who was reportedly born in Colombia three years prior to the date stated on documents which have allowed him to identify as being Ecuadorian.

FIFA regulations state that the use of an ineligible player could result in forfeit punishments being handed out, with Chile hoping that will prove to be the case as they seek to secure their own place at Qatar.

Do Chile have a case against Ecuador?

A wider investigation, which has been carried out over several years, has resulted in sanctions being handed out to 75 youth players that were registered in Ecuador using falsified records.

Castillo has formed part of that process ever since he emerged on the senior scene, with Chile adamant that there is a case to answer.

Eduardo Carlezzo, a lawyer representing the Chilean football federation, has told the New York Times: “The level, both in quantity and quality, of the information and evidence that we have been able to collect has surprised even us.

“How could we not act with this level of evidence in our hands?”

Pablo Milad, the president of Chile’s soccer federation, added: “We understand, based on all the information and documents collected, that the facts are too serious and must be thoroughly investigated by FIFA.

“We have always respected the fair play principles and we hope that the other federations do the same.”

Ecuador had initially been wary of fielding Castillo, with concerns over his documentation refusing to go away, and vice president of the country’s football federation, Carlos Manzur, said in March 2021: “I think it’s a matter of playing it safe, avoiding problems.

“I think he is a good player. If it were up to me, I would not have him play for the national team. I would not take that risk. I would not risk everything we are doing.”

Why do Chile have claims to a World Cup spot?

Ecuador finished fourth in the CONMEBOL section of World Cup qualification, granting them an automatic passage to the finals in Qatar.

Chile finished seventh, with Peru – who are heading into an inter-continental play-off – and Colombia ending above them in a 10-team group, but Castillo did not figure in games against either of those nations.

He did line up against Chile, though, and they are suggesting that the six points played for in those games should now be awarded to them – a situation which would result in Ecuador losing their place in Group A at the 2022 World Cup alongside Senegal, the Netherlands and hosts Qatar.

There have already been a number of other instances this year when it comes to nations requesting action from FIFA over supposed misdemeanours.

Egypt and Algeria had called for the second legs of their respective play-off games against Senegal and Cameroon respectively to be replayed as a result of laser-pointing from the stands and questionable performances from match officials.

FIFA punishments have been handed out to those involved, but the outcome of said fixtures have been allowed to stand.

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