has lost its appeal to FIFA to replace at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the world football governing body announced on Friday.
FIFA dismissed Chile’s argument that Ecuador player Byron Castillo was actually Colombian and ineligible to play in tournament qualifying, in which Castillo made eight appearances 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 football’s legal statutes.
The verdict, which upholds a FIFA disciplinary ruling from June and will likely be taken to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), keeps Ecuador on track to play in Qatar — they face the hosts in the opening game of the World Cup in Doha on Nov. 20. Theand are also in Group A.
However, Chile’s legal challenge can continue.
The Chilean football federation can appeal against FIFA’s verdict to sport’s highest court — CAS in Lausanne, Switzerland –which can organise an urgent hearing and ruling ahead of the World Cup.
Chile claimed to have evidence proving Castillo is Colombian and should not have appeared 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.
FIFA’s legal statues include a section on national team eligibility when a state government has granted citizenship to players.
“Any person holding a permanent nationality that is not dependent on residence in a certain country is eligible to play for the representative teams of the association of that country,” according to the statutes.
The appeal hearing on Thursday was held remotely from Zurich with only the three judges present. The chief judge overseeing the case was Neil Eggleston, an American who is a former White House Counsel in the second administration of Barack Obama.
The FIFA appeals committee rarely overturns a ruling by the football body’s disciplinary committee.
Chile has filed complaints against an opponent’s player in back-to-back World Cup qualifying tournaments.
In the 2018 World Cup qualifying group,forfeited two games in which it fielded an ineligible player as a late substitute. FIFA received complaints from Chile and regarding Bolivia defender Nelson Cabrera, who was born in and had previously played for Paraguay’s national team.
Bolivia lost an appeal at CAS, which said FIFA was right to investigate even when protests were filed weeks after the games were played.
That case ultimately harmed Chile. Three extra points awarded to Peru lifted it above Chile and into an intercontinental playoff that it won to advance to the 2018 tournament in Russia.
FIFA then wrote stricter rules for the 2022 World Cup requiring all players in qualifying games to produce a “valid permanent international passport” for inspection by match officials.