Ecuador accused of World Cup qualifiers fraud for fielding alleged Colombian player
In a bizarre turn of events, South American nation Ecuador has been accused of fielding a Colombian in their World Cup qualifiers by Chile.
The player, named Byron Castillo, was reported to have had his documentation faked by the Ecuadorian national team in order to allow him compete for their country in the qualifiers.
Castillo played eight games for the Ecuadorians in the qualifiers, two of them against Chile. They qualified as the fourth and final South American team alongside Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay.
The lawyer of the Chile Football Association, Eduardo Carlezzo, spoke to Spanish outlet Marca where the allegations were first published. Carlezzo also noted that Chile will be seeking Ecuador's place in the World Cup once they get a ruling from FIFA on the issue.
"We have filed a complaint with FIFA as a result of what we believe is a very serious incident in the call-up of the player Byron Castillo with the Ecuadorian national team," Carlezzo said.
"We have thoroughly investigated the case to really understand where the player was born and we are clear - he was born in Colombia.
"What we are stating categorically is that Byron Javier Castillo Segura was born in Tumaco, Colombia, on July 25, 1995, and Byron David Castillo Segura, who would have been born on November 10, 1998, does not exist, he is a ghost. It is an adulteration, a forgery and even a crime by the laws of Ecuador."
More forgery claims from Chile; Ecuador stand ground
Carlezzo also claimed that the documents were forged at a now-suspended football club in Ecuador.
"The case has a very solid narrative based on documents that show how the forgery of documents began in Ecuador," Carlezzo added.
"You have to keep in mind that all this starts with a very deep scheme of forgery and adulteration of player documents. It all started in 2012 in the province of Guayas [in Ecuador] with a club called Norte America. Precisely, Byron Castillo was registered in that club in 2012.
"The Ecuadorian Federation itself named this club as the epicentre of the falsification of player documents in Ecuador and it was suspended later. Several employees were arrested for this as well."
Ecuador have declined to comment but only stated that they are ready for the hearing and will demonstrate their proof before FIFA when they are called upon.
The Gustavo Alvaro-led La Tri were drawn in Group A alongside hosts Qatar, African Cup of Nations winners Senegal, and the Netherlands. They will kick off the World Cup as Qatar face them in the opening match.
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