In a bizarre turn of events, Chile are demanding that Ecuador are thrown out of the 2022 World Cup after claiming to have found evidence that one of their players is in fact ineligible.
The player in question is Byron Castillo, a supposed 23-year-old Ecuadorian defender who featured eight times on his side's way to automatic qualification for the upcoming tournament in Qatar.
But, in an official statement, Chile have now claimed that Castillo is in fact a 26-year-old from Colombia, which would of course make him ineligible to represent Ecuador. They demand that their fellow South American side forfeit the eight games in which he featured, a result that would in turn send Chile to the World Cup in their place.
'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 Chilean FA claim.
And, according to the New York Times, his early years have previously been a concern for Ecuador too, with Tariq Panja reporting that 'Castillo’s background has been shrouded in questions for several years after a wider investigation into player registrations in Ecuador looked into hundreds of cases and resulted in punishments for at least 75 youth players found to have falsified records.'
'Wary of a mistake that might jeopardize Ecuador’s World Cup hopes, officials from the national soccer federation had held off selecting Castillo until this year', it is added.
It remains unclear just how much of the report contains factual information, and how much is a last-gasp attempt from Chile to gain a spot at the World Cup, where, should they proceed at Ecuador's expense, they would go into a group with Senegal, Qatar and the Netherlands.