Ecuador will play at the World Cup in Qatar after Fifa dismissed claims by Chile that they had fielded an ineligible player in the qualifiers.
The Football Federation of Chile (FFC) filed a complaint with Fifa, saying that Byron Castillo – who played in eight of Ecuador’s qualifiers, was actually Colombian, and faked his age.
However, world football’s governing body said on Friday that after ‘analyzing 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 (Ecuador soccer federation).’
“The present decision remains subject to an appeal before the Fifa Appeal Committee,” it added.
Chile can challenge the ruling at FIFA’s appeals committee and potentially later at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The decision confirms Ecuador’s place in Group A with hosts Qatar, Senegal and the Netherlands.
The FFC’s complaint said right-back Castillo, who plays for Ecuadorian side Barcelona, used a false birth certificate and nationality.
“There are innumerable proofs that the player was born in Colombia, in the city of Tumaco, on July 25, 1995, and not on November 10, 1998, in the Ecuadorian city of General Villamil Playas,” it read.
Chile claimed that Ecuador’s football federation knew the player was Colombian, adding: “The world of football cannot close its eyes… the practice of serious and conscious irregularities in the registration of players cannot be accepted.
“There must be fair play on and off the pitch.”
Eduardo Carlezzo, a lawyer representing Chile, previously urged FIFA to speed up their investigation after compiling evidence and called on them to inflict the ‘harshest sanctions’ on Ecuador.
Ecuador risked forfeiting all eight games as 3-0 losses and dropping to the bottom of the table in the South American qualifying group that ended in March. Chile would have risen to fourth in the standings if the ruling had gone in their favour.