Ecuador risk losing their position in the FIFA World Cup after fielding an ineligible player during the South American qualifiers.
The world football governing body, FIFA has opened official disciplinary investigation against Ecuador.
The South American country is accused of fielding an ineligible player during their World Cup qualifiers against Chile.
If found guilty, Ecuador will be banned from this year’s tournament edition which is set to take place in Qatar. Ecuador has already booked their ticket after finishing fourth in the South American qualifiers and booking a direct ticket. They are set to play hosts Qatar, Netherlands and Senegal in the group stages.
But their hopes of making a World Cup appearance could be diminished as FIFA is looking into claims that defender Byron Castillo is not an Ecuadorian. Chile have lodged an official complaint saying that Castillo is a Colombian and therefore cannot represent Ecuador in international matches.
Ecuador qualified alongside Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. Peru, who finished fifth are set to play an intercontinental playoff match against Australia or the United Arab Emirates next month.
Chile claim that Castillo was born in 1995 and has a Colombian birth certificate. Ecuador have however, denied these claims saying that the right-back was born in 1998.
FIFA statement as quoted by BBC Sport read:
“FIFA has decided to open disciplinary proceedings in relation to Byron David Castillo Segura’s possible breach of the call criteria for the indicated matches.