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FIFA investigation of Ecuador player could shake up World Cup

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, May 12, 2022
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Chinese caddies hold a FIFA flag before the opening match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow, Russia, on June 14, 2018. (Xinhua/Yang Lei)

FIFA has launched a probe into claims that Ecuador used an ineligible player in qualifiers for this year's World Cup, the world football governing body said on Wednesday.

The announcement came less than a week after the Chilean Football Federation notified FIFA of the alleged infringement and called for Ecuador to be excluded from football's showpiece tournament.

"FIFA has decided to open disciplinary proceedings in relation to the potential ineligibility of Byron David Castillo Segura," read a FIFA statement. "The Ecuadorian Football Federation and the Peruvian Football Association have been invited to submit their positions to the FIFA disciplinary committee.

In documents filed with the Zurich-based entity, Chile claimed that Castillo was born in Tumaco, Colombia, in 1995 and not in the Ecuadorian city of General Villamil Playas in 1998 as his official documents state.

Castillo, who also represented Ecuador at youth level, made his international debut last September in a 2-0 home victory over Paraguay.

The Ecuadorian federation has denied any wrongdoing, describing the claims as "unfounded."

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

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

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

The World Cup will take place in Qatar from November 21 to December 18.

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