Ecuador Faces 2022 FIFA World Cup Disqualification

By Jeff Stinger

Ecuador is in danger of 2022 FIFA World Cup disqualification following the revelation that one of its key players used a false certificate. This was backed by an official investigation that was blotted out by the Ecuador Football Federation (FEF). If FIFA decides to take action against the team before the tournament kicks off, there are several scenarios that could unfold and bring more interesting storylines to the event.

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Issue disclosure

Chile’s Football Federation (ANFP) brought the issue up to FIFA in May, shortly after Ecuador qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The team claimed that defender Byron Castillo was born in Colombia. However, FIFA dismissed the accusations and ruled that the Club León player, who appeared in eight of Ecuador’s qualifying games, carried legitimate papers.

But later that month, the Spanish newspaper MARCA got hold of a copy of Castillo’s Colombian birth certificate. This was then followed up by an audio recording with Castillo held by the Ecuador Football Federation’s Investigative Commission four years ago. During the interview, Castillo admitted he was born in Colombia. He mentioned that he was born in 1995 and not 1998, contrary to his Ecuadorian birth certificate.

Furthermore, the defender revealed that his real name is Bayron Javier Castillo Segura. He discussed how he departed Colombia to pursue a professional career in Ecuador and dropped a name that provided him with a new identity.

Despite the evidence in 2019, the FEF gave Castillo the green light and ruled that he was an Ecuadorian citizen.

What does it mean for Group A?

The +450 sleepers to win Group A are in trouble of getting kicked out just a couple of months away from the tournament. The first candidate to replace Ecuador is Chile. This could happen if FIFA maintains a recent precedent by giving the South American country 3-0 wins for the previous qualifying games against the accused.

Meanwhile, Peru is also in line and a potential beneficiary of the issue. It would be The White And Red moving up from the fifth place in a scenario where Ecuador was completely expelled and all of their games are forfeited.

This could mean change for the hosts in the opening game, who are also set to take on the Netherlands and Senegal days after in Group A. Additionally, the situation could impact who England will face in the first round of knockouts because the winner of Group A would play against the runner-up of Group B and vice-versa.

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