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Was the CAS ruling fair in the Byron Castillo case? Five analysts rule on the controversial verdict

Twelve days before the World Cup, the TAS, that court that we Peruvians know well from Paolo Guerrero and Alianza Lima, partially ruled against Ecuador and Byron Castillo. Is it really fair that a sanction be served in the next process and not in this one, in which advantage was taken? The truth is that, although Chile demands a millionaire compensation in the next few hours, Ecuador will play the honor of the World Cup in two Sundays against the host country. But that does not mean that it does not delve into a ruling that for many sets a bad precedent in world football. Five analysts, including lawyers and journalists, answer the following questions:

1) Do you consider that the CAS ruling that sanctions Ecuador, but allows it to play the World Cup, is fair? Why?

2) What is the precedent set by FIFA with the Byron Castillo case?

3) Was the claim of the federations of Peru and Chile worth it?

Juan Carlos Ortecho, head of sports at RPP

1. What the TAS has determined has legal support. It’s fair? It is a very difficult question. If the CAS has found an irregularity and Ecuador has played with a soccer player whose registration had certain irregularities beyond the fact that he was eligible, it seems to me that the sanction is not fair. It is very light. If there is any conviction that there was false information in his passport. One thing is legal. You are legally allowed to play. The truth is that there was an irregularity. This irregular issue has a very slight penalty, which is the three points in the next Qualifiers. Regarding whether or not he should play in the World Cup, an extemporaneous sanction would have been unfair for Ecuador. The timing of sanctions is important.

2. A bad precedent is set, because it does not go to the bottom of the matter: Ecuador has a history of registration irregularities. The precedent is that no matter how you solve the issue as long as you meet certain requirements you can play. Byron Castillo was not born in Ecuador and has played for Ecuador. The Ecuadorian Federation has not been diligent. From the point of view of fair play, Byron Castillo is more serious than Nelson Cabrera, the Paraguayan who played for Bolivia when he did not meet the conditions and for which they gave Peru three points in Russia 2018. There he escaped the turtle to the Bolivians. But in this case there is a whole story and it is not the only one. The club where Byron Castillo was formed had several cases of forgery of documents with players arriving from Colombia. Looks like there’s some traffic there. The precedent is very bad. However, within the FIFA regulations, they were more severe with the Nelson Cabrera case.

3. Whenever an irregularity is detected, it is what corresponds. A federation must file a claim. It is worth asserting your rights.

Jhonny Baldovino, legal manager of the Association of Soccer Players of Peru (SAFAP)

1. I think it is fair. When one goes to the TAS, the process starts from scratch. You can receive new tests. Not necessarily the evidence with which FIFA resolved are the same with which the CAS resolved. It is fair because what the CAS has done is respect what the Ecuadorian justice has said in relation to the player. It does not invade jurisdiction. If for them the player was eligible during the Qualifiers, it is fair that he does not harm Ecuador in this World Cup. It is so. The responsibility does not belong to the player either. The TAS what is he holding on to. That there is supposed to be false information in the player’s passport. Does the fact that he was born in Colombia make it impossible for him to be Ecuadorian? No. He can be Ecuadorian by nationalization. In this case, Byron Castillo was Ecuadorian by decision of the Ecuadorian justice system. There is a court ruling involved. The TAS cannot go against Ecuadorian justice. In summary: it is fair because they respect the Ecuadorian jurisdiction and sanction the Federation for an administrative issue.

2. No, this is the same as the ruling of the Paraguayan soccer player who played for Bolivia. Now, the federations must be very careful with the documentation that they handle the registration of players. They must review it well, because they can be sanctioned in the future.

3. Yes, starting with three points less in a tie as tight as the South American one is difficult. It was worth the claim of both federations. The expectation was that they would take Ecuador out of the tie for the next World Cup. The illusion that they would take him out of Qatar was not real. The lawyers who are in football know that this was impossible for the time.

Óscar Romero, president of the Professional Football Sports Association (ADFP)

1. It is not only a matter of the TAS ruling. The background is that Ecuador is already part of a group in Qatar. FIFA has already sold those matches. I mean television rights. That the TAS now say no longer, difficult. This transcends sports justice. Come to carve the commercial consequences. That is why the TAS takes away three points from Ecuador for the next World Cup. More than fair, it is a decision that does not affect them in economic terms.

2. That the issues are not timely sanctioned generate these consequences. Everyone claims when they already lost. But why didn’t they claim at the time. What if Ecuador had not qualified? Nobody claimed. It’s a bad precedent. It affects the system. What happens if Ecuador reaches the final instances? Countries are going to complain.

3. More than worth it, it seems to me that it was not the right time to claim. They let it go. It wasn’t from the beginning. That is not right. Soccer games are won on the field, not at the table. I go to the table when it is very evident. The Byron Castillo thing was, but he had the opportunity for him. Why didn’t the other countries that qualified for the World Cup claim? It is questionable.

Claudio Chaparro, journalist

1. It is a strange ruling because the CAS admits that Ecuador used false documentation regarding the birth of Byron Moreno, but allows him to play because he has a passport and was eligible. In other words, he understands that his registration was irregular, but if an Ecuadorian state entity validated it, then the TAS accredits it. In good Christian, the TAS did not want to get into trouble by excluding Ecuador 12 days before the World Cup and, in addition, it got rid of another mess that meant deciding which team would replace Ecuador. In this sense, I consider that it is not a fair ruling because it found an irregularity but it only sanctions a fine and three points less for the next Round.

2. It sets a very bad precedent. In other words, I can use a player with false documentation, but if Reniec in my country subtly authorizes him as born there, then they will only punish me for the process that follows and not for this one. Disgusting where you look.

3. Peru and Chile, to begin with, were eliminated on court and should not play the World Cup by table. That said, they both knew that it was very difficult for them to agree with them, due to the time factor. They pointed to that, to sanction of points for the 2026 process. If that happened, for both it was worth the claim.

Julio García, sports lawyer

1. I am not satisfied because obviously the CAS only rules on what the parties allege. We will know for sure when the grounds for the award are issued. I imagine it will be a few months when that happens. I am very concerned about the fact that the Federation considers that a disciplinary procedure was initiated and ended by a court order. I don’t know the appeals, but I would think there is an incomplete figure there. Ecuador failed in that aspect. This occurs when the leadership of the Ecuadorian Football Federation changes, when the previous president was. The procedure is archived. But then comes the serious part: the player asks for the prescription and the federation grants it.

2. That there are things reserved for the States, such as the determination of nationality. For me, Chile had no reason from day one. Regardless of whether they showed that the player had been born elsewhere, it was impossible for FIFA or the CAS to qualify him as ineligible, when eligibility is determined by the nationality that the State grants him. But there is the bad faith of the Federation. Set a precedent. But not as seriously as there should be. In the future it is unlikely that such a case will occur.

3. There was case. Chile started all this. Merit must be recognized. He tried to frame his case on eligibility. It could have been resolved differently. But you had to try. It was necessary to claim because the player was not born in Ecuador. In these circumstances, a remedy for the situation had to be requested. Unfortunately the remedy has not been what we wanted.

Source: Elcomercio

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