Professional soccer tends to kill the romanticism of the game: results obtained on the field can be reversed in court. This is the situation of Ecuador, which could lose its place in Qatar 2022 after Chile formally denounced it to FIFA for serious administrative offenses related to the lineup of the defender Byron Castillo.
In the thorny Conmebol Qualifiers, Ecuador won its place in the upcoming FIFA World Cup by finishing fourth in the standings after 18 matches played, ahead of Peru, Colombia, Chile, Paraguay, Bolivia and Venezuela. La Tri was only surpassed by the monsters of the zone: Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay.
The soccer community, including FIFA, did not expect this controversy, since Ecuador has already been assigned a group for Qatar 2022. It shares the enigmatic Group A with the host country and two National Teams that can cause a headache to any squad: Sadio Mane's Senegal and Virgil van Dijk's Netherlands.
Chile's formal complaint to FIFA makes Ecuador shiver
This scandal began at the end of April, when Colombian journalist Sebastián Bejarano revived the issue of the alleged false nationality of Ecuadorian soccer player Byron Castillo, a controversy that had apparently been settled in 2021 and which indicated that Castillo was of Colombian origin.
In a press release published on its official website, the Chilean Federation announced that it has filed a formal complaint against Byron Castillo and the Ecuadorian Federation before the FIFA Disciplinary Committee. There are three administrative violations for which the Chileans are asking for the Ecuadorians to be punished.
Use of false birth certificate. This would have been found after an investigation carried out in Ecuador, where the National Directorate of Civil Registry of that country reported that the document was not in its internal files.
False declaration of age. Not only did Chile point out that Castillo's place of birth was falsified, which would prevent him from representing Ecuador, but also that the player's age was lied about: according to Ecuadorian records, Castillo was born in November 1998, but the Chilean complaint provides documents that would prove that the real date was July 1995.
Fake nationality. The Chilean Federation argues as a consequence of the above administrative faults that the fact that Byron Castillo has represented Ecuador is an irregularity since his real nationality would be Colombian.
Possible consequences for Ecuador in the run-up to Qatar 2022
According to the New York Times, FIFA has confirmed receipt of Chile's official complaint against Ecuador for the improper lineup of Byron Castillo. In this way, a process of review and resolution of the case would have been initiated, which could result in Ecuador losing its place in Qatar 2022.
Byron Castillo played 8 Conmebol Qualifiers matches in which Ecuador obtained 4 victories (12 points), two ties (2 points) and two defeats. Thus, if the FIFA Disciplinary Committee finds La Tri and Castillo guilty, Ecuador would lose those 14 points, which would unseat them from the Standings, losing their place in the upcoming World Cup and moving up to Chile who would win 5 points on the table that they could not get on the field and would qualify them to Qatar 2022.
Ecuador clings to Qatar 2022
Through a statement published on its social media, the Ecuadorian Federation said it was ready to demonstrate to FIFA and its Disciplinary Committee that it has always acted legally, and therefore the spot in Qatar 2022, that its National Team earned on the field, deserves to be respected.
"Regarding our selected player, Mr. Byron Castillo, we must be emphatic that the soccer player is an Ecuadorian citizen for all legal purposes, both in the civil and sporting sphere, being duly registered with the competent National Authority and having all the documentation in order. " stated the Ecuadorian Federation.