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Chile Loses Bid to Replace Ecuador at World Cup in Byron Castillo Case

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Chile’s bid to have its South American rival Ecuador thrown out of soccer’s World Cup failed on Friday when a disciplinary panel at soccer’s global governing body rejected a claim that Ecuador had fielded an ineligible player in several qualification matches.

The case involved the defender Byron Castillo, who Chile contended was not only born in Colombia but in addition three years older than is stated on the documents used to discover him as Ecuadorean. Chile’s soccer federation produced registry documents, including birth certificates, that it said supported its claim.

Under the foundations of the governing body, FIFA, fielding an ineligible player could end in a forfeit of any match through which an ineligible player took part.

Ecuador finished fourth within the continent’s qualifying competition, claiming certainly one of South America’s 4 automatic places within the World Cup. But Chile had demanded that Ecuador forfeit the eight qualification games through which Castillo appeared, and that its opponents in those matches be granted three points per game. That final result, Chilean officials had calculated, would rearrange the qualifying ends in South America and lift Chile into the World Cup at Ecuador’s expense.

FIFA said its officials had analyzed submissions from all of the parties involved within the case — which also involved Peru, which is able to compete in an intercontinental playoff next week for its own place in Qatar — before concluding that Ecuador had no case to reply.

Chile said it might appeal the ruling.

“We’re dismayed with the choice,” said Eduardo Carlezzo, a lawyer representing the Chilean federation. “The quantity of evidence is large, each from Colombia and Ecuador, proving with none reasonable doubt that the player was born in Colombia. Subsequently, we are going to appeal and we hope that those evidences shall be full considered.”

Ecuador’s soccer federation released a press release after Chile filed its claim in May through which it rejected what it called “false rumors” about Castillo, who it said was an Ecuadorean citizen in a legal and sporting sense.

“We categorically reject any attempt by those that seek to avoid our participation within the World Cup in Qatar, which was legitimately obtained on the sector,” the federation said on the time.

Castillo’s background has been shrouded in questions for several years after a wider investigation into player registrations in Ecuador looked into tons of of cases and resulted in punishments for at the very least 75 youth players found to have falsified records. Wary of a mistake that may jeopardize Ecuador’s World Cup hopes this 12 months, officials from its national soccer federation had held off choosing Castillo for the senior national team until this 12 months.

Two years ago, actually, the president of a special investigation commission convened by the federation appeared to suggest Castillo was Colombian, something that Chilean officials continued to argue that they had substantiated.

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