A verdict could be reached within 24 hours in Chile’s appeal against Ecuador’s World Cup spot over an alleged ineligible player.
Chile wants to replace Ecuador in the opening match against Qatar nine weeks before the 32-team World Cup starts on Nov. 20. In the past, FIFA said it asked Ecuador player Byron Castillo to testify, who Chilean officials claim is actually Colombian and shouldn’t have played in World Cup qualifiers. Three judges were present at the appeal hearing, which was conducted remotely from Zurich. The verdict could come as early as next week, but it’s unlikely to settle the case.
Neither the Chilean nor Ecuadorian soccer federations can appeal if they lose. A CAS case would be handled in Lausanne, Switzerland.FIFA’s appeals committee sided with Ecuador in a disciplinary committee decision on June 10. During the South American qualifying round, Castillo played in eight games and helped Ecuador qualify for the World Cup.
Chile says it has proof Castillo wasn’t eligible to play for Ecuador and should forfeit all eight games. Chile would move up to fourth and Ecuador would fall out. Ecuador fans are buying thousands of tickets and accommodations from FIFA and Qatar organizers while the case is going on.
Chile prepared its legal arguments after Ecuador was grouped with Qatar, the Netherlands, and Senegal in Group A of the World Cup. Neil Eggleston, a former White House Counsel in Barack Obama’s second administration, is the FIFA judge overseeing the case.