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    Chile fury as Fifa let Ecuador stay in World Cup

    Furious Chile slammed Fifa for allowing “a dark day for football” after Ecuador were cleared to keep their World Cup Finals place, writes MARTIN LIPTON.

    A Fifa panel ruled defender Byron Castillo WAS eligible to play for Ecuador despite his admission he was born in Colombia, three years EARLIER than his official documents claimed.

    Chile demanded Ecuador forfeit all eight qualification games in which Castillo had featured with a 3-0 defeat, which would have seen them jump from seventh to fourth in the 10-team table and take the last automatic South American qualification place.

    That would have meant Chile replaced Ecuador alongside Qatar, Holland and Senegal in Group A and been potential last 16 opponents for England or Wales.

    Chile’s case was bolstered as it emerged Castillo had made admissions about his birthplace and age in an interview with Ecuadorean officials in 2018.

    But less than a day after the hearing – which Castillo declined to attend either in person or virtually despite a summons from Fifa – world chiefs announced the all-clear.

    Fifa said: “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 Ecuadorean Football Association. 

    “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 Fifa Regulations Governing the Application of the Statutes.”

    That brought a stunned reaction from Santiago, while Chilean federation chief Jorge Yunge blasted: “This is a dark day for football and for the credibility of the system. 

    “The footballing world heard a player who helped Ecuador qualify for the World Cup admit he was born in Colombia and that he gained an Ecuadorian passport using false information. “No wonder he refused to participate in the FIFA hearing. What does it say about Appeal Committee that confronted with all this still they fail to act?”


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