Futbol drama is the drama that keeps on giving. Qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup are already over, and most spots have already been decided – with only two playoffs left to be played. Even the draw has already taken place. But now, at the behest of the Chilean Federation, FIFA has opened an investigation that could deprive Ecuador of its World Cup spot.
The investigation is related to player Byron David Castillo Segura, who is alleged to have been born in Colombia. Chile – who would qualify for the World Cup if Ecuador were to be disqualified – claims Castillo’s paperwork is irregular, insisting the player used “a false birth certificate, false statement of age, and false nationality,” and that the Ecuadorian Federation was fully aware of the fact.
Ecuador’s football federation insists the player is “duly registered” and has all the correct documentation to compete with the national team.
Castillo appeared in eight of Ecuador’s qualifying matches, including a win and a draw against Chile. If those matches become forfeit, that would give seventh-place Chile the points needed to reach the last qualifying spot. Castillo never placed fifth place in Peru or sixth place in Colombia.
The ramifications of FIFA’s decisions could be far-reaching. If futbol’s governing body were to find Castillo ineligible, would that disqualify Ecuador from the whole qualification, or, as Chile claims, only the matches he played? And what happens to the draw – which saw pots determined by the March FIFA Ranking. Ecuador was in Pot 4, and was placed in Group A. But Chile ranked higher than Ecuador, would have been placed in Pot 3, which meant there would have been a different draw configuration from the start.
Either way, there’s drama, and the World Cup is still six months away. We can only imagine what other storylines will take center stage as we get closer to November.
The FIFA 2022 World Cup will take place in Qatar from November 21st to December 18th.