New evidence has surfaced just days before their appeal
For only the fourth time in their history, Ecuador are set to appear at this
summer’s year’s World Cup. The South American nation booked their place in Qatar by finishing fourth in their fiercely competitive qualifying section.
For a short while in September, however, it was reported they could be stripped of their place at the finals over claims they had fielded an ineligible player during qualifying.
It was claimed Byron Castillo was born in Colombia
Defender Byron Castillo played in eight of Ecuador’s qualifiers, helping them secure their berth at the tournament.
But Chile and Peru, the top candidates to replace Ecuador in the tournament should they be booted out, claimed that Castillo was actually born in Colombia, and therefore should not have been allowed to play in the qualifiers as a result.
‘Evidence’ of cover up emerged day before appeal
The plot thickened only days before the start of the inquiry into his case when the Daily Mail reported evidence of a shocking admission from the player which had subsequently been covered up by the Ecuador Football Federation [FEF].
In the interview he allegedly:
- Says he was born in 1995 as opposed to the 1998 date given on his Ecuadorian birth certificate.
- Gives his full name as Bayron Javier Castillo Segura, matching the details of his Colombian birth certificate, rather than the name on the Ecuador certificate, Byron David Castillo Segura.
- Describes in detail leaving the Colombian city of Tumaco for San Lorenzo in Ecuador to pursue a career in football.
- Names an Ecuadorian businessman who provided him with a new identity.
The recording was obtained from a formal interview which took place four years ago between the head of the FEF’s Investigative Commission and Castillo.
FIFA dismiss calls for disqualification
Despite the evidence, FIFA’s appeal committee ruled that, ‘on the basis of the documents presented, the player was to be considered as holding permanent Ecuadorian nationality,’ thus freeing him – and the Ecuadorian national team – to play in the World Cup.