Ecuador has been cleared to compete in the 2022 World Cup following a hearing from FIFA on Thursday, the organization announced on Friday.
Chile initially filed a case alleging that Ecuador fielded an ineligible player in the World Cup qualifiers last September. It was dismissed in June before a successful appeal was heard on Thursday.
FIFA ruled in favor of Ecuador in the appeal, meaning the team will maintain its World Cup berth and Chile will miss the event.
“Having analysed the submissions of all parties and after a hearing had been conducted, the Appeal Committee confirmed the decision of the Disciplinary Committee to close the proceedings initiated against the FEF,” FIFA said in its statement. “Amongst other considerations, it deemed that on the basis of the documents presented, the player was to be considered as holding permanent Ecuadorian nationality in accordance with art. 5 par. 1 of the FIFA Regulations Governing the Application of the Statutes.”
Ecuador was placed in Group A at the World Cup, with matches against host Qatar, Senegal and the Netherlands. It is set to play in the World Cup opener against the host nation on Nov. 20.
Who is Byron Castillo?
The allegedly ineligible player was defender Byron Castillo, who played in eight World Cup qualifying games for Ecuador. Chile alleged that Castillo used a false birth certificate to represent Ecuador, despite being born in Colombia. Castillo was invited to Thursday’s hearing, but he did not attend.
He spent five years with Ecuadorian club Barcelona SC and currently plays for León.
What would have happened if Ecuador was disqualified from the World Cup?
If FIFA found that Ecuador used an ineligible player, the team could have been forced to forfeit all eight qualifying games that Castillo played in as 3-0 losses.
After inputting those results, Ecuador would have dropped out of the final qualification position. Chile would have moved up and taken Ecuador’s spot in Group A while playing the same schedule of World Cup contests.