By Paul Nicholson
August 23 – The Chilean FA have expressed increasing concern over FIFA’s delay in ruling on their appeal over whether Ecuador should be expelled from the 2022 World Cup for fielding an ineligible player.
Chile argue that the eight games in which Byron Castillo played in World Cup qualifying should have the results awarded to their opponents. This would mean that Chile would then qualify for Qatar 2022 rather than Ecuador.
In a media statement, Jorge Yunge, General Secretary of the Chilean Football Association, says that by delaying the appeal decision, and if the decision goes against Chile, they will not have time before the start of the World Cup to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
“We have presented compelling evidence that the player is a Colombian citizen, born in Tumaco, and that his Ecuadorian documentation is forged,” said Yunge.
“We formally appealed to FIFA on July 1 and requested the production of certain evidence from the Ecuadorian Federation that would have a great impact on the resolution of the case, but, to date, there has been no further feedback,” Yunge continued.
“We also sent new and unpublished documents in the appeal, which clearly show the irregularities regarding Byron Castillo’s eligibility, and we requested once again that he be called to clarify the situation. Apparently, nobody wants to speak to him, which we find surprising…
“We understand the challenges associated with making a ruling in our favour at this stage, but justice needs to be served at all costs.”
The case was initially judged by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee on June 10, 2022, and on June 30 the Chilean FA notified FIFA of its intention to appeal the decision. On July 29, FIFA received its response by the Ecuadorian Football Federation.
The appeal ruling is now in the hands of Neil Eggleston, former White House Counsel in the Obama administration, who is heading up the appeals commission.
The Chilean FA claims that Byron David Castillo Segura, the Ecuadorian player, and a person with a Colombian passport and different date of birth – Bayron Javier Castillo Segura – are in fact the same person. Both the Ecuadorian and the Colombian have the same parents.
The Chilean FA in its appeal produced evidence proving that the entire family of Byron Castillo was born in Colombia (father, mother and sister), live in Tumaco (except the father who died in 2019) and there is no brother.
The Chileans also provided a declaration signed in 2016 by Byron David Castillo Segura to Ecuadorian authorities saying he had his documentation with the FEF (Ecuadorian FA) falsified by the representatives of his first club in Ecuador (Club Norteamerica).
There is also a copy of a resolution from the FEF’s Investigative Commission from 2018 concluding he was born in Colombia and uses a falsified Ecuadorian birth certificate, and a report from the Civil Register of Ecuador declaring his birth certificate as false.
Ecuador will have centre stage on the rearranged opening day of the World Cup when they take on hosts Qatar in Group A on Sunday November 20 at the Al Bayt Stadium.
It is somewhat ironic that a team that arguably shouldn’t be participating at the World Cup is scheduled to open the tournament, on a rearranged date, against the country that many critics argue should not have been awarded the hosting of the event in the first place.
FIFA has a very big decision to make, and whichever way Eggleston rules on the Chilean appeal, the transparency in the decision making will be scrutinised worldwide.
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