As far as World Cup controversies go, Chile and Ecuador are looking to claim the top spot in 2022.
The rival Latin American countries have ignited an international scandal as Chile is pushing for Ecuador to get the boot from the upcoming global soccer tournament in Qatar before competition kicks off in November.
Chile’s stance stems from a claim that Ecuador allegedly fielded defender Byron Castillo, who played in eight World Cup qualifying games, as an ineligible player in the World Cup qualifiers in September of last year.
The initial case went on to be dismissed in June.
“After analysing the submissions of all parties concerned and considering all elements brought before it, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee has decided to close the proceedings initiated against the Ecuadorian Football Federation,” the FIFA disciplinary committee said in a statement.
Chile went on to appeal that ruling, putting Ecuador’s spot at the 2022 Qatar World Cup in jeopardy. The appeals hearing is set for Thursday, Sept. 15.
FIFA said that its appeals committee has invited Byron Castillo to be available as a witness in the hearing.
Why does Chile think Ecuador should be disqualified from the World Cup?
The evidence reportedly showed that Ecuador defender Byron Castillo used a false birth certificate to represent Ecuador, despite having been born in Colombia.
Chile sent documentation to the FIFA disciplinary committee showing that Castillo used “a false birth certificate, false statement of age and false nationality.”
Ecuador is in Group A alongside hosts Qatar, Senegal and the Netherlands and is set to play Qatar in the World Cup opener on Nov. 20.
Ecuador could be forced to forfeit all eight games as 3-0 losses and drop from fourth place in their qualifying group. If FIFA proves the allegation to be true, Chile would place fourth in the standings and claim the automatic qualification position.