FIFA rejected Chile’s argument that Ecuadorian player Castillo was Colombian and ineligible for the World Cup.
Chile has lost its appeal for the world governing body, which is challenging Ecuador’s spot at the upcoming World Cup in Qatar.
FIFA on Friday dismissed Chile’s argument that Ecuadorian player Byron Castillo was actually Colombian and ineligible to play in the World Cup qualifiers. Castillo played in eight qualifiers for Ecuador.
The organization said that its appeal judges “were of the opinion, on the basis of the documents presented, that the player is to be regarded as the holder of permanent Ecuadorian nationality under the legal provisions of football”.
The verdict, which upholds a FIFA disciplinary ruling issued in June, has ruled out Chile from the tournament and kept Ecuador on course to meet Qatar in the opening match of the World Cup on November 20 in Doha.
However, Chile’s legal challenge may continue.
The Chilean Football Federation can now appeal FIFA’s ruling to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland. CAS, the sport’s highest court, has nine weeks left before the start of the World Cup to organize an emergency hearing and render a verdict.
Chile claimed to have evidence Castillo is Colombian and should never have played for Ecuador.
Chile prepared its case after the April 1 World Cup draw took place and after organizers FIFA and Qatar sold thousands of tickets and accommodation to Ecuadorian fans.
Had Ecuador lost all eight of Castillo’s games, Chile would have moved up to fourth automatic qualifier in the South American qualifying group. Ecuador would have been eliminated from the competition.
The FIFA Statutes contain a section on national team eligibility where a state government has granted citizenship to players.
“Any person who has a permanent nationality that is not dependent on residence in a particular country is eligible to play for the national teams of that country’s association,” the statutes state.
The FIFA Appeal Committee rarely overturns a decision of the Football Association’s Disciplinary Committee. Chile have filed complaints against an opponent’s player in consecutive World Cup qualifying programs.