Earlier in 2022, Chile submitted a claim that Ecuador clinched a World Cup spot using an ineligible player.
Chile claimed that Ecuador picked up a total of six points against Chile in games where the player, Byron Castillo, appeared. However, over the summer, FIFA rejected Chile’s claims. Consequently, Ecuador retained its World Cup spot, while Chile appealed the decision ahead of Qatar 2022.
Ahead of Thursday’s appeal meeting hearing held by FIFA, British newspaper The Daily Mail has published new evidence. Remarkably, this information comes out just days before the official ruling on the case of Byron Castillo. It appears likely that the new revelations disclosed by the newspaper will be a part of the deliberations.
Most of the issues boil down into documentation, an issue first brought up as Castillo tried to transfer between two Ecuadorian clubs. The transfer collapsed due to ‘irregularities’ in documentation. In fact, one of the clubs involved in the transfer got suspended due to benefitting from players’ falsified documents.
Those issues could be haunting Castillo, and Ecuador, again.
Ecuador’s World Cup dreams up in the air
The biggest piece of evidence coming out in recent days is an interview Castillo had four years ago. In the interview, the player effectively gives a confession about his falsified documents. While Ecuador claim he is an Ecuadorian citizen, his documents and confession state that he was born in Tumaco, Colombia. Plus, while previous documents laid out that he was born in 1998, this new confession has Castillo saying he was born in 1995.
Chile managed to find both a Baptism registration with Castillo’s name. Moreover, it verified Castillo’s birth certificate with the Colombian registry. Castillo’s potential falsified birth certificate for Ecuador was not recognized by the country’s civil register.
Also, keep in mind that Ecuador claims it conducted an investigation and found nothing wrong. FIFA’s findings would call the entire Ecuadorian Football Association into question. The recording of Castillo’s interview plus the findings regarding documents could do considerable damage.
Chile to the World Cup?
The reason Chile is the one spearheading this investigation is because Chile would receive a pair of 3-0 forfeit wins if FIFA sees that as the verdict. The ensuing points and goal differential would see Chile go from seventh in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying up to fourth. That is good enough for a guaranteed spot in the group stages of the Qatar World Cup.
Adding to the drama is the fact that Ecuador is set to play in the World Cup opener. Ecuador would face the hosts, Qatar, on Nov. 20 at 2 p.m. ET on FOX. However, if this does not hold up, FIFA must decide if Chile simply takes that spot, or if another team fills the void.
PHOTO: IMAGO / Photosport