FIFA clears Ecuador to play in World Cup

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QUITO: FIFA has dismissed a request to exclude Ecuador from this year’s World Cup on the grounds that they allegedly fielded an ineligible player, the world football governing body said on Friday.

The Chilean football federation submitted the complaint last month, claiming that full-back Byron Castillo played for Ecuador despite being Colombian.

In a statement, FIFA said its disciplinary committee analyzed evidence from all parties before deciding that Ecuador had no case to answer.

“The … committee’s findings were notified today to the parties concerned,” it said, adding that Chile had 10 days to file an appeal.

Eduardo Carlezzo, a lawyer representing the Chilean federation, confirmed the entity would challenge the ruling.

“We are dismayed with the decision,” he said. “The amount of evidence is huge, both from Colombia and Ecuador, proving without any reasonable doubt that the player was born in Colombia. Therefore, we will appeal and we hope that that evidence shall be fully considered.”

Ecuadorian football federation president Francisco Egas hailed the decision as a win for “sporting justice”.

“We celebrate it more because we felt humiliated, we felt trampled by the great media campaign from the Chilean federation,” he said.

Ecuador finished fourth in the 10-team South American qualifying group, claiming the last of the region’s automatic qualifying places.

Chile asked that Ecuador be forced to forfeit each of the eight matches in which Castillo played. Such a decision would have cut Ecuador’s points tally from 26 to 12.

Chile finished seventh in the group but would have risen to fourth if awarded the points from the two games against Ecuador in which Castillo played.

The World Cup will be held in Qatar from November 21 to December 18.

 

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