2022 World Cup: Could Ecuador be kicked out and what does it mean for England?

  • Kobe Tong
Castillo playing for Ecuador.

Ecuador face being kicked out of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, according to the Daily Mail who published new evidence on the case on Monday night.

The British newspaper’s report explained that one of the nation’s players had confessed to using a false birth certificate as part of an official investigation “that was covered up by the Ecuador Football Federation [FEF].”

The evidence relates to the case of Byron Castillo and comes just days before FIFA’s Appeals Commission are set to rule on the matter on Thursday as part of a wider enquiry by football’s governing body.

The Mail’s evidence on Ecuador situation

Chile’s initial complaint was dismissed in June with a ruling that Castillo was born in Ecuador.

Sportsmail have now published an audio recording that they say is from an interview with Castillo and contains content that will ‘create a major headache for FIFA’.

It’s claimed that Castillo clearly states that he was born in 1995 as opposed to 1998, which is the date written on his Ecuadorian birth certificate.

The Mail's exclusive on Ecuador.

He also allegedly gave his full name as Bayron Javier Castillo Segura, which matches the details given on his Colombian birth certificate as opposed to the ‘Byron David Castillo Segura’ penned on his Ecuadorian document.

Castillo is also said to give a detailed description of leaving Tumaco in Colombia for San Lorenzo in Ecuador in order to pursue a career in football and named an Ecuadorian businessman who helped to furnish him with a new identity.

Investigation into Castillo ongoing

Sportsmail also published a letter containing the conclusions of the Investigative Commission, which was given to the FEF president and Disciplinary Commission in late 2018.

The document is said to state that Castillo is a Colombian national who was born in 1995, which runs contrary to the 2019 conclusion by the FEF that the player was, in fact, an Ecuadorian citizen.

The investigation into Castillo has been conducted by FIFA since April upon a complaint from the Chilean FA who stated that the player “was ineligible to represent Ecuador as he is a Colombian citizen who entered Ecuador as an illegal immigrant.”

And questions over Castillo’s identity purportedly date back to 2015 when a proposed move between Norteamerica and Club Emelec fell through due to ‘irregularities’ in his documentation.

It’s also explained that his Colombian birth certificate has been corroborated by the birth registry and ministry for foreign relations, whereas the Ecuadorian version has not been verified by the nation’s civil register.

As you’ve probably gathered by now, it’s an incredibly complex and sensitive situation, so be sure to check out the Mail’s full report to delve deeper into the minutiae of the new evidence.

Castillo playing vs Argentina.
Soccer Football – World Cup – South American Qualifiers – Ecuador v Argentina – Estadio Monumental Banco Pichincha, Guayaquil, Ecuador – March 29, 2022 Ecuador’s Byron Castillo in action with Argentina’s Nicolas Gonzalez Pool via REUTERS/Franklin Jacome

What would this mean for Qatar 2022?

However, what is no doubt at the forefront of most fans’ minds right now is what it could mean for the upcoming tournament in Qatar, which is now just a couple of months away.

Well, the Mail explains that Chile are hoping to replace Ecuador at the competition if they are indeed barred from competing with Castillo having played in two qualifying games between the two nations. Chile lost one and drew the other.

It’s explained that this could genuinely happen if FIFA maintains recent precedent by awarding Chile 3-0 wins for those games, potentially moving them up from seventh to fourth in the qualifying table.

But Peru are potential beneficiaries too because it would be them who moved up from fifth place in a world where Ecuador were expelled completely and all of their games were forfeited.

Either way, that could mean a change to the very first game of Qatar 2022 with the hosts, who are also set to face the Netherlands and Senegal, due to kick things off against Ecuador on November 20.

Group A at the 2022 World Cup.
Soccer Football – World Cup – Final Draw – Doha Exhibition & Convention Center, Doha, Qatar – April 1, 2022 General view of the big screen displaying Group A REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

And this whole situation could have an impact on who England face in their round of 16 match because the winner of Group A would play the runner-up of Group B and vice-verse.

So no matter what comes of this new evidence and the upcoming conclusion later this week, the reality is that there could be major permutations for the Three Lions just as there would be for Ecuador and Chile.

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