ZURICH (AP) — Chile has lost its appeal to replace Ecuador at the World Cup in Qatar, but Friday's verdict by FIFA will likely lead the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
FIFA dismissed Chile’s argument that Ecuador player Byron Castillo was actually Colombian and ineligible to play in World Cup qualifying games. Castillo played in eight of them for Ecuador.
FIFA said its appeal judges “deemed that on the basis of the documents presented, the player was to be considered as holding permanent Ecuadorian nationality in accordance” with the country's legal statutes.
The verdict, which upholds a FIFA disciplinary ruling from June, keeps Ecuador on track to play Qatar in the opening game of the World Cup in Doha on Nov. 20. The Netherlands and Senegal are also in Group A.
However, Chile’s legal challenge can continue.
The Chilean soccer federation can now appeal against FIFA’s verdict to CAS in Lausanne, Switzerland. Sport’s highest court can organize an urgent hearing and ruling in the nine weeks left until the World Cup starts.
Chile claimed to have evidence proving Castillo is Colombian and should never have played for Ecuador.
Chile prepared its case after the World Cup draw was made on April 1, and after FIFA and Qatari organizers sold thousands of tickets and accommodation rooms to Ecuador fans.
Had Ecuador forfeited all eight games Castillo played, Chile would have risen to the fourth automatic qualification place in the South American qualifying group. Ecuador would have dropped out of contention.
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The Associated Press