FIFA blocked Chile’s attempt to see Ecuador thrown out of the World Cup in Qatar. Through a formal complaint sent to FIFA last month, Chile claimed Ecuador used an ineligible player in the qualifiers.

Byron Castillo
Ecuador survived FIFA’s first ruling in the Byron Castillo case, but the decision is subject to appeal. (Image: twitter/adamsonabraham)

Byron Castillo’s presence in the Ecuador squad during the qualifying stage put the nation’s presence at the World Cup under threat. Castillo is born in Colombia and is three and a half years older than his documents say. Ecuador finished fourth in the South American qualifiers, beating Chile, Colombia, and Peru for a seat at the World Cup.

“After analyzing the submissions of all parties concerned and considering all elements brought before it, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee has decided to close the proceedings initiated against the Ecuadorian Football Federation,” FIFA confirmed in a statement. The decision is subject to appeal.

In 2016, FIFA sanctioned Bolivia for playing an ineligible player, Nelson Cabrera, in the qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup. As a consequence, Bolivia’s matches against Peru and Chile counted as 3-0 losses.

If Ecuador lost the 14 points obtained in matches in which Castillo featured, they would be left with just 12 points, a tally only sufficient to leave them second-bottom in the group. In the eventual case of the appeal going against them, Ecuador would be replaced by Chile at the World Cup.

Ecuador is well placed to make it into the knock-out stages at the World Cup

Ecuador is part of Group A alongside the Netherlands, Senegal, and the hosts in Qatar. The South Americans stand at -125 to qualify from their group, the same as Senegal. The Netherlands top the favorites list at -900, while Qatar are the underdogs at +500. Ecuador’s chances of winning the group are seen as small, as they sit at +350, the same as Senegal, to beat the Netherlands in the race for first place. The Dutch are at -200, with Qatar at +1800.

Ecuador winning the World Cup is at +12500.