Chile loses FIFA appeal in World Cup case with Ecuador


FIFA rejected Chile’s argument that Ecuadorian player Castillo was Colombian and ineligible to play in the World Cup.

Chile has lost its appeal to world government to challenge Ecuador’s place at the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

FIFA on Friday rejected Chile’s argument that Ecuadorian player Byron Castillo was actually Colombian and ineligible to play in World Cup qualifiers. Castillo played in eight qualifying matches for Ecuador.

The organization said the appeal judges “considered on the basis of the documents presented that the player had permanent Ecuadorian nationality in accordance with football’s legal statutes”.

The verdict, confirming a disciplinary decision by FIFA in June, has kept Chile out of the tournament and Ecuador on track to face Qatar in the opening match of the World Cup in Doha on Nov. 20.

However, Chile’s legal challenge can continue.

The Chilean Football Association can now appeal FIFA’s ruling to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland. CAS, the sport’s highest court, can hold an emergency hearing and issue a ruling in the nine weeks remaining before the World Cup begins.

Chile claimed to have evidence proving that Castillo is Colombian and should never have played for Ecuador.

Chile prepared its case after the World Cup draw on April 1 and after FIFA and Qatari organizers sold thousands of tickets and accommodation rooms to Ecuador fans.

Had Ecuador forfeited all eight games played by Castillo, Chile would have moved up to fourth automatic qualifying place in the South American qualifying group. Ecuador would have jumped out of the fray.

FIFA’s legal statutes contain a section on national team eligibility when a state government has granted citizenship to players.

“Anyone with a permanent nationality who is not dependent on residence in a particular country is eligible to play for the representative teams of that country’s federation,” the statutes said.

FIFA’s appeals committee rarely overturns a decision by the football association’s disciplinary committee. Chile has filed complaints against an opponent’s player in back-to-back World Cup qualifiers.

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