Ecuador will keep their place in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled on Tuesday that Byron Castillo, a player that Chile said should have been ineligible, was in fact an Ecuadorean national.

However, the court did hand down a punishment for using an official document containing false information. Ecuador will start their 2026 World Cup qualifying campaign with a three-point deduction. The South American country must also pay a fine of around $101,000.

“Since the nationality of a player with a national association is determined by national laws (subject to time limits in case of a change of sporting nationality, which was not the case here), Byron Castillo was eligible to play … in the preliminary round of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022,” CAS said in a statement reported by Reuters.

Chile previously appealed that Castillo was in fact born in Colombia in 1995, not in Ecuador 1998. While this turned out to be correct, the court ruled that the player’s Ecuadorean paperwork was official.

player’s paperwork features false information

“While the player’s Ecuadorean passport was indeed authentic, some information provided therein was false,” CAS added.

“In particular, the panel was comfortably satisfied that the player’s date and place of birth were incorrect since the player was actually born in Tumaco, Colombia, on 25 June 1995.”

“The panel deemed it necessary to hold the FEF liable for an act of falsification… even if the FEF was not the author of the falsified document but only the user.”

Castillo played in eight World Cup qualifying games for the country. Normally deployed as a right back, the defender also featured in four recent friendly matches as well. With Byron in the team, Ecuador finished fourth in South America’s qualifying table. This was the final guaranteed place to move on to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Ecuador will feature in Group A of the upcoming World Cup. The South Americans face the Netherlands, Senegal, and hosts Qatar. Their first fixture is against Qatar in the opening match of the tournament.

Photo credit: IMAGO / ANP

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