Byron Castillo Case: Chile claims Ecuador’s place in the World Cup in Qatar from FIFA | Sports

Arturo Vidal, during a game of the Chilean team in 2017.
Arturo Vidal, during a game of the Chilean team in 2017.DPA via Europa Press (Europa Press)

In football, the teams that have the best players and coaches usually win, but in some cases, almost always in case of defeat, lawyers also jump onto the field of play. They are matches that try to win in the offices and with the regulations in hand, the legal letter to which Chile turned to FIFA this Thursday with the aim of snatching Ecuador’s place for the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

The complaint of the National Association of Professional Football of Chile (ANFP) indicates that the player Byron Castillo would have been born in Colombia and not in Ecuador, the team for which he played in the World Cup qualifying tournament. The ANFP’s lawyers pointed out that Ecuador should lose the 14 points it scored with the defender of Barcelona from Guayaquil on the pitch, although the Ecuadorian Football Federation (FEF) was quick to respond today that Castillo is “an Ecuadorian citizen for all purposes legal, both in the civil sphere and in sports.

Perhaps in the farewell of a generation that marked the history of Chilean football, still with several members of the team that won the 2015 and 2016 Copa América, Chile finished the South American Qualifiers for Qatar 2022 in seventh place, with 19 points. Above “la Roja” were the four direct qualifiers for the World Cup (Brazil, with 45; Argentina, 39; Uruguay, 28; and Ecuador, 26) and the fifth, Peru, who got the place for the playoff in which the June 13 will face the winner of the previous match between Australia and the United Arab Emirates.

Even Chile was below the sixth position in the Qualifiers, in the hands of the also eliminated Colombia, which added 23 units, but the alleged false nationality of Castillo – who played against the Chilean team and not against the Colombian – is the letter presented by the ANFP before FIFA. The complaint against the FEF is for the “use of a false birth certificate, false declaration of age and false nationality” of the defender, who -they maintain in Chile- would have been born in Colombia.

Castillo’s place of origin was also in doubt for the Ecuadorian Federation for many years, even still during the beginning of the last Qualifiers. The 23-year-old winger had already played in Ecuador’s under-17 and under-20 teams between 2015 and 2017, but the FEF leaders separated him then when they had indications of an alleged adulteration of identity. The rumor had already spread.

The lawyer representing the ANFP, Eduardo Carlezzo, explained this Thursday in Santiago that the 43-page complaint to FIFA shows “that the Ecuadorian departure certificate that the player uses is false and that, on the other hand, the Colombian certificate is true. This conclusion is not only ours, but also that of other organizations and of the Ecuadorian federation itself”.

According to Carlezzo, “specifically to Byron Castillo in 2018 an investigative commission of the Ecuadorian federation, analyzing all the background and documents, determined that the player was Colombian. It is not only us who say that, it is the Ecuadorian federation in an official document, which we have sent to FIFA, which declares him as Colombian”.

At the start of the Qatar 2022 Qualifiers, Ecuador’s coach, Argentinian Gustavo Alfaro, stated that he wanted to call up Castillo but could not do so without first receiving the go-ahead from his national federation. Finally in April 2021, the Ecuadorian Justice ruled, and communicated it to the FEF, that the footballer was Ecuadorian. According to his data, Byron David Castillo Segura was born on November 10, 1998 in the city of General Villamil (also called Playas), on the Ecuadorian coast.

“I wanted to call Byron from the first call but there are issues that go beyond sports. Luckily all of us who were involved in this were able to work to make Byron’s call a reality. Hopefully now he can give us in the national team how good he is doing in Barcelona, ​​”said Alfaro, at the end of last August.

Castillo made his debut with the senior team on September 2, 2021, in a 2-0 win over Paraguay, and then played another seven games at the service of the team that gave the big surprise in the Qualifiers: Ecuador, a priori below Colombia and Chile. , was not among the favorites to qualify for Qatar. The man of discord played in the draws against Argentina (1-1) and Chile (0-0), in the victories against Venezuela (1-0), Chile (2-0), Bolivia (3-0) and the aforementioned against Paraguay (2-0), and in the defeats against Paraguayans (3-1) and Uruguayans (1-0). In those eight games, Ecuador added 14 points.

Chile’s complaint is also based on a series of mathematical calculations at its convenience: Castillo did not play against Peru and Colombia, so the two teams that finished immediately above “la Roja” cannot recover the points that Chile claims for yes and the rest of the rivals.

If FIFA approves the Chilean protest, Ecuador could lose the 14 points from the games in which Castillo played and would fall to the last step, with 12 units. Chile, for its part, would be the main beneficiary since it would add five points and climb to fourth place, with 24, the same as Peru but with a better balance of goals, which would allow it to qualify directly to Qatar. Colombia would continue in sixth place.

According to Chilean spokesmen, “there is innumerable evidence 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 (also known as Beaches)”. Carlezzo, who spoke of “adulterated certificates”, added: “We sent FIFA the entire sports career of the player, from 2012, which was the first time he was registered with the North American club, until today. The world of football cannot close its eyes to so many tests. The practice of irregularities in the registration of players cannot be accepted. There must be fair play on and off the pitch.”

This is the second time that Chile tries to participate in a World Cup based on regulatory requests. In the previous claim, for Russia 2018 —La Roja had not occupied the classification positions either—, the Superior Arbitration Court (TAS) agreed with him, although finally the favored one was Peru. The Chilean federation claimed in 2016 that Bolivia had irregularly registered soccer player Nelson Cabrera, a Paraguayan naturalized Bolivian who entered a goalless draw in Santiago. As Cabrera also played in a Bolivian victory against Peru, Ricardo Gareca’s team joined the claim. Both orders, the Chilean and the Peruvian, were validated with 3-0 wins. The unusual thing is that, if Chile had not attended the TAS, they would have played the playoff against New Zealand instead of Peru and, therefore, would have had high chances of qualifying for Russia.

A World Cup later, Chile goes back to the offices.

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