World Cup 2022 opening match could be changed and team ‘set to be disqualified’

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The 2022 World Cup’s opening match could be changed after Ecuador were found to be covering up a player’s false birth certificate.

Byron Castillo made eight appearances during Ecuador’s qualification run for Qatar but came under scrutiny after the Chilean FA complained to FIFA in June about his true place of birth. Spanish outlet Marca later discovered the player’s Colombian birth certificate, which disproved that Castillo was born in Ecuador.

And now The Daily Mail has published an audio recording of Castillo being interviewed by the Ecuador Football Federation four years ago, which could see them axed from the World Cup over fake identities.

READ MORE: World Cup bosses plan tournament so England fans can compete alongside Three Lions

The right-back says during the interview he was in fact born in 1995, rather than 1998, as stated in his Ecuadorian birth certificate. In a shock revelation, he also confirms his real name is Bayron Javier Castillo Segura, which further corroborates his Colombian birth certificate.

Castillo can also be heard explaining his decision to leave Colombia, adding: “I crossed the border because, you know, teams from Tumaco play in San Lorenzo.

“I went to do some trials in San Lorenzo, I remember that very well. I never got picked for any of the teams at those trials, but my friend who was picked never turned up so I went instead.”

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The defender went on to allege Ecuadorian businessman Marco Zambrano and owner of NorteAmerica, who were suspended by the FEF for similar offences, was behind the fake ID.

FIFA’s appeals commission are expected to rule on the matter on Thursday, which could see Ecuador kicked out of the World Cup. The stunning findings could therefore alter who hosts Qatar play in the opening fixture and who England will face in the last-16 of the competition.

Should FIFA follow precedent, Chile would be awarded two 3-0 victories in the event of their initial complaint against Ecuador being upheld. That would move them up from seventh to fourth in their South American qualification group, ahead of Peru, and into the World Cup.


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