Ecuador will keep their place at the 2022 World Cup after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled in their favour on Tuesday, following attempts from Chile and Peru to have them thrown out of the tournament. 

Chile and Peru appealed to FIFA after discovering Ecuador had used ineligible right-back Byron Castillo in their successful qualification campaign.

The Federacion de Futbol de Chile (ANPF) provided proof that Castillo was born in Colombia and not Ecuador, as stated on his official documents.

FIFA dismissed all charges in June and again in September when the fresh evidence came to light, but Chile and Peru took the case to CAS with a further appeal.

However, the hearing on November 4 and 5 adjudged that "no violation of the rules on eligibility has occurred", leaving Ecuador free to compete in Qatar later this month.

Ecuador will, however, be deducted three points in qualifying for the 2026 tournament after being found to have used false information to obtain a passport for a Colombian-born player.

The South American nation, who face hosts Qatar in the opening game of the tournament on November 20, must also pay a fine of 100,000 Swiss Francs ($101,605).

In a statement released on their official website after the verdict was delivered, the Ecuadorian Football Federation (FEF) suggested they may themselves appeal those sanctions.

"The Ecuadorian Football Federation is analysing the next steps to follow, since it does not share the sanction imposed," the statement read.

Castillo appeared eight times in qualifying for Ecuador, including in both of their two meetings with Chile, but he did not play in either game against Peru.

Chile argued Ecuador should forfeit the games Castillo played in, having finished fourth in CONMEBOL's qualification group, while Peru felt they should have replaced Ecuador in Qatar as they finished fifth.

With only four teams qualifying automatically, Peru instead dropped into the intercontinental play-offs and were beaten 5-4 on penalties by Australia following a goalless draw.

Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay are the other nations representing CONMEBOL at the global showpiece event, which runs until December 18.

Espanyol will demand "corrective measures" from organisers of Friday's friendly between Morocco and Chile following incidents during and after the match at RCDE Stadium.

Fans forced their way into the stadium and there was a pitch invasion after Morocco's 2-0 victory at the home of Espanyol.

The LaLiga club will be seeking answers to ensure there will be no repeat of the scenes.

A club statement said: "RCD Espanyol de Barcelona regret the incidents that occurred this Friday at the RCDE Stadium, during the international friendly match between Morocco and Chile.

"As with other events promoted by third parties, in accordance with the contract for the use of the facility and appealing to the responsibility of this third party in all matters related to the event, the club will demand corrective measures be taken by match organisers regarding every action that has an impact on the integrity of elements of the stadium.

"This experience will be taken into account to attempt to avoid a repeat of such incidents in future events organised by third parties at our facilities.

"Since its inauguration, the RCDE Stadium has hosted many matches and events that have taken place without incident.

"This year, after the conclusion of the 2021/22 LaLiga season, another international friendly and two concerts were held that highlighted the potential of our facility to hold such events.

"The RCDE Stadium is a top-level facility and a source of pride for RCD Espanyol, which brings in revenue and strengthens our club brand on both a local and international level."

Ecuador's place at the World Cup in Qatar is secure after FIFA rejected Chile's bid to have their South American rivals excluded from the tournament.

A spot in Group A, including the opening fixture of the tournament against Qatar on November 20, was under threat due to the eligibility of Byron Castillo – who played eight times during qualifying.

Chile presented evidence that Castillo was born in Colombia and were seeking action that would have seen them replace Ecuador in the tournament.

However, the FIFA Appeal Committee has closed proceedings initiated against the Ecuadorian Football Federation (FEF).

"Having analysed the submissions of all parties and after a hearing had been conducted, the Appeal Committee confirmed the decision of the Disciplinary Committee to close the proceedings initiated against the FEF," a statement read.

"Amongst other considerations, it deemed that on the basis of the documents presented, the player was to be considered as holding permanent Ecuadorian nationality in accordance with art. 5 par. 1 of the FIFA Regulations Governing the Application of the Statutes."

Chile could still appeal the decision and take the hearing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Chile intend to launch an appeal against FIFA's decision to dismiss their previous complaint regarding Ecuador's participation at the World Cup.

Nine-time tournament finalists Chile asked FIFA to investigate allegations that Ecuador used ineligible right-back Byron Castillo in their successful qualifying campaign.

The Federacion de Futbol de Chile (ANPF) said it had proof that Castillo was born in Colombia and not Ecuador, as stated on his official documents.

Castillo appeared eight times in qualifying, including in a goalless draw with Chile in September and a 2-0 victory in November.

La Roja finished seventh, meaning they just missed out on a play-off spot, but felt Ecuador should be expelled from the World Cup at their expense.

However, after looking into the claims made by ANPF, world football's governing body FIFA rejected the appeal last month and confirmed Ecuador will keep their place in Qatar.

Chile are continuing to push their case, though, with their general secretary Jorge Yunge confirming on Thursday that a fresh appeal will be lodged.

"We are completely sure about the conclusions of our investigations," Yunge said in a statement.

"It's absolutely clear the player uses an adulterated Ecuadorean document. What is at stake here is not just a place in the 2022 World Cup, but the entire principle of fair play."

Ecuador have been drawn in Group A at the World Cup, which begins in November, alongside Senegal, the Netherlands and hosts Qatar.

Chile pulled off an upset by overcoming the United States 31-29 in Colorado on Saturday to qualify for the Rugby World Cup for the first time ever.

The South American nation lost last week's first leg 22-21 in Santiago, but pulled off a huge result away from home to advance by a single point on aggregate.

Not until the 75th minute of the second leg, when Santiago Videla kicked over a penalty, did Chile take the lead for the first time.

Pablo Lemoine's side, who were 19-0 down at one stage in the second leg, will now join England, Argentina, Japan and Samoa in Pool D at next year's tournament in France.

USA will have a second chance to advance when they compete in a final qualification tournament in November, where Portugal, Kenya and the loser of the Asia/Pacific play-off await.

Speaking on the back of an historic win for his side, Chile captain Martin Sigren said: "It really means so much... the sacrifices that this team has made. 

"There were times when it seemed like it was uphill. I want to thank all the family who came here. They were the ones who kept us pushing."

Chile's appeal to have Ecuador disqualified from the World Cup in Qatar has been rejected by FIFA.

The appeal was made on the basis of Ecuador selecting an ineligible player during their qualifying campaign.

Football's world governing body opened disciplinary proceedings last month following allegations that right-back Byron Castillo is Colombian and not eligible to represent Ecuador.

Castillo made eight appearances for Ecuador in their South American qualifying campaign.

Chile, who failed to qualify for the World Cup, lodged a complaint, but FIFA confirmed on Friday that Ecuador will keep their place at the World Cup, which starts in November.

A statement on FIFA's website read: "The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has rendered its decision in relation to the potential ineligibility of the player Byron David Castillo Segura with regard to his participation in eight qualifying matches of the national team of the Ecuadorian Football Association (FEF) in the preliminary competition of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

"After analysing the submissions of all parties concerned and considering all elements brought before it, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee has decided to close the proceedings initiated against the FEF.

"The Disciplinary Committee's findings were notified today to the parties concerned. In accordance with the relevant provisions of the FIFA Disciplinary Code, the parties have 10 days in which to request a motivated decision, which, if requested, would subsequently be published on legal.fifa.com. The present decision remains subject to an appeal before the FIFA Appeal Committee."

La Roja, who finished seventh to miss out on a play-off spot, would have taken Ecuador's place had FIFA disqualified them. 

Ecuador will face hosts Qatar, Netherlands and Senegal in Group A.

Eduardo Berizzo has been hired as the new head coach of the Chile national team, the Chilean Football Federation confirmed on Thursday.

Berizzo’s first coaching experience came as an assistant under Marcelo Bielsa with La Roja between 2007 and 2010, and will now be tasked with rejuvenating a team in generational transition.

Following a quarter-final finish at the 2021 Copa America, Chile finished five points off the inter-confederation playoff spot in CONMEBOL qualifying for this year’s World Cup, dismissing Reinaldo Rueda and Martin Lasarte in the process.

Berizzo is coming into this role after a disappointing tenure of his own with the Paraguay national team, where two quarter-final eliminations on penalties at Copa America tournaments in 2019 and 2021 were punctuated by an eighth-placed finish in South American qualification for this year’s World Cup.

"The Chilean Football Federation, headed by its president Pablo Milad, informs that it has reached a complete agreement with Eduardo Berizzo and his staff, so that he directs the Chilean National Team for the next process," the Chilean governing body said in a statement.

"Berizzo has had an outstanding career as a player with the Argentine national team, and as a coach he showed important steps for Estudiantes de la Plata, O'Higgins de Rancagua, a team with which he was crowned champion of Chilean soccer, and also with Celta de Vigo, Seville and Athletic from Spain. His last experience was in the Paraguayan soccer team."

La Roja will next face South Korea in the upcoming international window, before taking on Tunisia in the opening game of the Kirin Cup.

FIFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against Ecuador over the potential use of an ineligible player in their successful World Cup qualifying campaign.

Chile last week asked the world football governing body to investigate allegations that right-back Byron Castillo is actually Colombian and not eligible to represent Ecuador.

Castillo played eight times for Ecuador in South American qualifying, including a goalless draw with Chile in September and a 2-0 victory in November.

La Roja finished seventh, meaning they just missed out on a play-off spot, but believe Ecuador should be expelled from the quadrennial competition.

And FIFA confirmed on Wednesday that it is looking into the recent complaint made by the Federacion de Futbol de Chile.

The statement 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. 

"In this context, the FEF and the Peruvian Football Federation have been invited to present their positions before the FIFA Disciplinary Committee."

Ecuador have already been drawn in Group A at the World Cup, alongside hosts Qatar, as well as Senegal and the Netherlands.

FIFA sanctioned Bolivia for fielding ineligible player Nelson Cabrera in 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Peru and Chile, awarding their opponents 3-0 wins in both instances.

Chile have demanded FIFA investigate allegations that World Cup qualification rivals Ecuador used an ineligible player during their successful campaign.

A statement from the Federacion de Futbol de Chile outlined their belief that right back Byron Castillo was born in Colombia in 1995, not in Ecuador in 1998, as had previously been thought to be the case.

Castillo made eight appearances for Ecuador in their World Cup qualifying campaign, with La Tri set to take part in the tournament in Qatar at the end of this year.

Ecuador have been drawn in Group A alongside hosts Qatar, as well as Senegal and the Netherlands.

However, Chile released a statement on Thursday detailing their allegations around Castillo and demanding an investigation from FIFA.

La Roja finished seventh in South American World Cup qualifying, just missing out on a play-off spot.

"We inform that, on May 4, through the Carlezzo Abogados studio, we sent to the FIFA Disciplinary Commission a complaint against the player Byron David Castillo Segura and the Ecuadorian Football Federation (FEF), due to the use of false birth certificate, false declaration of age and false nationality by the aforementioned player," the statement read.

"We understand, based on all the information and documents collected, that the facts are too serious and must be thoroughly investigated by FIFA.

"There are innumerable proofs that the player was born in Colombia, in the city of Tumaco, on July 25, 1995, and not on November 10, 1998, in the Ecuadorian city of General Villamil Playas.

"The investigations carried out in Ecuador, including a legal report by the National Directorate of Civil Registry, the highest authority in the matter in this country, declared the existence of inconsistencies in the birth certificate presented by the player, and reported that this document did not exist in its internal files, pointing out other weaknesses in the document, to conclude that it was possibly fraudulent.

"In addition, an investigative commission of the Ecuadorian Football Federation, aimed at clarifying the irregularities existing in the records of players before this federation, concluded that the player was Colombian.

"All that, obviously, was fully known to the FEF. The world of football cannot close its eyes to so many tests. The practice of serious and conscious irregularities in the registration of players cannot be accepted, especially when we talk about a world competition. There must be fair play on and off the pitch."

 

Peru are one game away from back-to-back World Cup finals appearances following Tuesday's 2-0 win over Paraguay and head coach Ricardo Gareca lauded his side who seemed set to miss out six months ago.

La Blanquirroja clinched fifth spot in World Cup qualifying in CONMEBOL with the victory over Paraguay, finishing ahead of Colombia and Chile who were eliminated.

Peru's win means they will play the fifth-ranked team from the Asian Football Confederation, either Australia or UAE, who will meet in a one-off playoff in Doha in June. The inter-confederation playoff will also be played as a one-off in Doha on June 13 or 14.

Gareca's side seemed a long shot to claim fifth after back-to-back 1-0 losses to Bolivia and Argentina which left them second last in the standings in October but rallied by claiming 13 points from a possible 18 in their final six qualifiers.

“We didn't start the qualifiers well, but we rebounded well," Gareca told reporters. "It gave us the possibility to get to the playoff spot.

"I have to congratulate the boys and thank the people for the support. It was incredible. When I renewed my contract, this is what I wanted."

Gareca has been widely praised within Peru for his efforts, having taken over as national team boss in March 2015 and leading the side to its first World Cup in 36 years in 2018 along with the 2019 Copa America final.

The sentiment has been different for Colombia head coach Reinaldo Rueda, who achieved a rare feat of guiding two sides in qualifying who both failed to reach the World Cup. Rueda had led Chile early in qualifying before being dismissed, taking over Colombia in January.

"I think that not achieving the goal is a shame for Colombian football," Rueda told reporters after Colombia's 1-0 win in Venezuela which was not enough. "It is a very strong frustration. It was added, but the great result was not given."

"I think it is very clear that my contract was subject to qualifying for the World Cup, so it is an evaluation that the board will have to do, of the work we have done."

Chile's failure means they have missed the past two World Cups, meaning the international careers of several of their golden generation, including Alexis Sanchez, Arturo Vidal, Charles Aranguiz, Claudio Bravo, Mauricio Isla, Gary Medel and Eduardo Vargas, may come to an end.

Chile head coach Martin Lasarte told reporters after their 2-0 home loss to Uruguay: "I think some players from the 'golden generation' still have something to give."

Brazil head coach Tite was emotional after his side's 4-0 win over Chile in World Cup qualifying on Thursday in what may his final game in charge on home soil.

Tite previously announced he would exit the role after the 2022 World Cup, having taken over in June.

During Tite's tenure Brazil won the 2019 Copa America, but were eliminated from the 2018 World Cup in the quarter-finals.

More recently, Tite guided Brazil to 2022 World Cup qualification in November with several games to spare, with Selecao currently unbeaten in their qualifying campaign with 13 wins and three draws.

Brazil are currently on a 10-game unbeaten run in all competitions, dating back to last year's Copa America final defeat to Argentina.

"It has many meanings, many situations," Tite said after the win over Chile about his final game as head coach on home soil.

"There are many and they are very particular. Many thanks to the fans who attended the Maracana today, thank you very much."

Tite may still lead Selecao in Brazil again with the postponed qualifier against Argentina yet to be re-scheduled although the match would be a dead rubber with both sides comfortably qualified, with appetite low for a re-match.

On the win over the Chileans, who appear destined to miss the 2022 World Cup, Tite praised his side's level of performance, without pinpointing individuals.

"Two aspects have swayed me: the players with the personality and confidence to come to the national team and repeat the performances of their clubs, this is difficult due to the expectation of wearing the national team's shirt," Tite said.

Brazil's next qualifier is away to Bolivia on Tuesday, where they will be without Neymar and Vinicius Junior after they picked up yellow cards against Chile forcing suspension.

A spectacular first-half performance from Brazil's forward trio of Neymar, Vinicius Junior and Antony paved the way for a stylish 3-0 win against Chile.

Neymar scored his 71st international goal in his 117th cap for Brazil, while for Vinicius there was just a second goal in his 13th international appearance as the Selecao claimed a deserved 2-0 half-time lead, controlling 63 per cent of the possession.

To Chile's credit – with their World Cup qualification hopes just about alive – their second half ensured a competitive encounter with chances of their own, but Brazil were comfortable, having already booked their place in Qatar.

A hopeful long ball forward ended up with a second penalty for the hosts, with Philippe Coutinho getting his name on the scoresheet soon after his arrival into the match after Neymar delegated the duties. There was time for Richarlison to add a fourth, too.

Brazil almost made a superb start after Antony sliced his way into the box from the right wing 30 seconds after kick-off, but his shot on goal was tame and easily gathered by Claudio Bravo.

Bravo stood firm amid an early onslaught, crucially taking the ball off Neymar's toes after a sloppy first touch 19 minutes in, but his first half took a turn for the worse.

After Mauricio Isla brought down Neymar in the box for a clear penalty in the 42nd minute, which the felled forward converted, Bravo botched a clearance less than two minutes later to allow Antony to slip in Vinicius for Brazil's second.

Chile's Arturo Vidal thought he had pegged one back four minutes into the second half, but the VAR ruled it out for offside, before Brazil made sure of the points with a penalty scored by substitute Coutinho when Antony beat Bravo to the ball and was wiped out.

Richarlison – also introduced off the bench – put the icing on the cake in stoppage time, cutting in on his left foot and curling a finish across Bravo to make it four.

Rodrigo De Paul claims Argentina were subjected to some rough off-field treatment from hosts Chile before their World Cup qualifier.

The midfielder said the Albiceleste were prevented from using the bathroom on arrival, had no air conditioning or water and were made to suffer the sound of sirens during their stay in Calama. 

It did not appear to derail the visitors, already safely through to Qatar 2022, as they secured a 2-1 win despite the COVID-enforced absences of Lionel Messi and coach Lionel Scaloni.

"They didn't even let us go to the bathroom when we got off the plane," De Paul told reporters. "They cut off our air conditioners, we had no water and they made sirens sound throughout the stay.

"I'm not saying it's right or wrong, but, as an Argentine, every team that comes to my country, we have to make them feel as comfortable as possible and we have to win on the playing field where it belongs."

Angel Di Maria and Lautaro Martinez netted first-half goals around Ben Brereton-Diaz's looping header as Argentina extended their unbeaten run to 27 games.

The victory improves second-placed Argentina's CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying campaign to 32 points from 14 games, while Chile are battling to reach Qatar 2022.

After a solid if unspectacular showing, assistant coach Walter Samuel was pleased to see how well the team coped despite being without talisman Messi.

"Sure there are things to improve, but the team showed character in a difficult environment," he said.

"Messi is the leader of this team, but we were able to do very well without him. We lacked other guys because of Covid that we wanted to be there, but the team made a great effort and I want to thank them for that.

"The character of the boys is moving. All the players start from scratch and want to earn a place in the World Cup. There is healthy competition here."

Already-qualified Argentina flexed their muscle without Lionel Messi with a 2-1 away win over Chile leaving their 2022 World Cup qualification hopes at major risk on Thursday.

Angel Di Maria and Lautaro Martinez netted first-half goals around Ben Brereton-Diaz's looping header as Albiceleste extended their unbeaten run to 27 games.

The victory improves second-placed Argentina's CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying campaign to 32 points from 14 games, while Chile are battling to reach Qatar 2022.

La Roja, who suffered their second straight home defeat, have 16 points from 15 games and are seventh in the standings, three points behind Uruguay in the fourth automatic qualification spot after they won 1-0 in Paraguay.

Paris Saint-Germain winger Di Maria silenced the home Calama crowd in the ninth minute when he curled home a trademark left-foot strike from outside the box for his 23rd international goal.

Blackburn Rovers attacker Brereton-Diaz leveled the game up in the 20th minute when he precisely headed over Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez from Marcelino Nunez's diagonal cross.

Argentina restored their lead, just as Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo had gestured to be substituted due to injury, with the veteran stopper unable to hold Rodrigo De Paul's long-range strike allowing Martinez to fire home the rebound in the 34th minute.

The visitors weathered Chile's late pressure, with Brereton-Diaz forcing a good low save from Martinez with an 84th-minute header.

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni will miss their upcoming World Cup qualifier against Chile due to a positive COVID-19 test.

The Albiceleste have already qualified for Qatar 2022 with five matches to play in the CONMEBOL section.

Scaloni explained at a news conference on Wednesday he had "completed the isolation" but had not received the negative test he required to enter Chile.

With assistant Pablo Aimar also absent as a close contact, coaches Walter Samuel, Roberto Ayala and Diego Placente are set to lead Argentina on Thursday.

"Both Aimar and I are not going to be able to be part of the delegation," Scaloni said. "Pablo has been in his house for several days due to [being a] close contact.

"I completed the isolation several days ago, but I continue to test positive. To enter Chile you need a negative [test result].

"Walter Samuel, Roberto Ayala and Diego Placente are going to be present as part of the coaching staff."

Scaloni also confirmed players Alexis Mac Allister and Emiliano Buendia will miss the game, with the former testing positive for COVID-19 and the latter a close contact.

After their trip to Chile, Argentina are due to play at home to Colombia on Tuesday.

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