FIFA ends Byron Castillo probe: Chile lose case to have Ecuador ousted from World Cup for falsified documents

The FIFA Disciplinary Committee closed the proceedings initiated by Chile against Ecuador

A saga that could’ve seen Ecuador miss the World Cup and Chile somehow through has finally come to an end. On Friday, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee closed the case against the Ecuadorian federation on whether right back Byron Castillo had falsified his documents and was deemed ineligible for COMENBOL qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. 

The initial complaint raised by Chile in May was that Castillo wasn’t eligible for Ecuador as they alleged that he had to falsified his documents to grant him Ecuadorian nationality. It was alleged by Chile’s lawyers that Castillo was born in Tumaco, Colombia, in 1995. Instead, the player’s actual records show that he was born in 1998 in General Villamil, Ecuador.

Ecuador’s Byron Castillo (L) and Chile’s Jean Meneses vie for the ball during their South American qualification football match for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 at the San Carlos de Apoquindo stadium in Santiago, on November 16, 2021. (Photo by Marcelo HERNANDEZ / POOL / AFP) (Photo by MARCELO HERNANDEZ/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The Ecuadorian federation, if deemed guilty, would have been forced to forfeit the eight games that Castillo appeared in. In theory, that would have seen Chile bumped up in the standings and into the World Cup. Chile have taken advantage of this in the past as Bolivia was sanctioned in 2016 for fielding Nelson Cabrera. 

But FIFA’s review of documents and month-long probe have shown that in their eyes, Castillo is properly eligible for Ecuador, causing them to seal the case shut. For what it’s worth, the Chilean federation will have 10 days to request an appeal, so this may not be over just yet. For Ecuador, this means that they can continue to focus on their own World Cup plans while FIFA won’t need to figure out replacement plans at the last minute. As things stand, Ecuador and Castillo will head to Qatar as part of group A. That includes Qatar, Senegal and the Netherlands. Their opening match vs. Qatar takes place on Nov. 21 at 11 a.m. ET