The judicial war between Chile and Ecuador will have its second battle. In Zurich, the city that hosts FIFA, lThe legal teams will appear electronically before the Appeals Chamber of the entity that governs world football, in the context of the dispute over Byron Castillo’s participation in the recent Qualifiers. the one who presides paul miladin order to reverse the ruling of the body’s Disciplinary Committee, which rejected the arguments put forward by the legal team headed by the Brazilian Eduardo Carlezzo and ratified the presence of those from Guayas in Qatar.
This Thursday, strictly speaking, begins the “second half” to which the Chilean soccer boss alluded after the initial setback. A period in which they must present much more solid reasons than those exposed before the first instance. While waiting there has been information that Quilín has considered favorable. The higher court granted the request that Castillo appear before the trio of judges who will resolve the matter and this week the English newspaper Daily Mail revealed an audio in which the current defender of the Lion, from Mexico, acknowledges that he was born in Colombia and, mainly for these purposes, admits the adulteration of his documents and his age. The record dates from 2018. At the headquarters of Chilean soccer they celebrated the journalistic success, as they considered it key to the process. However, it will be the triumvirate composed of the American Neil Eggleston, the Faroese Christian Andreasen and the Qatari Salman Al-Ansari which should assess the burden of proof.
“The truth is, I had a hard time, the problem has been going on for years, it is not from now. The international media believe that it is from now on. Many replied, news was made and everyone attacked me. They wrote to me and that”, Castillo expressed, to Telemundo, within hours of the hearing. “There came a time when I wanted to quit, I came to the stadiums and thousands of things were yelled at me. But I had enough people who supported me, so don’t pay attention. More was from people in networks and in stadiums. There was a moment where I exploded and said I couldn’t,” she expressed. In May, it exploded and he came out crying in a Barcelona match. “The lie has a short life and collects a heavy bill in the future”, Carlezzo attacked that time.
For the Chilean defense, the appearance of the audio is a trump card. “A confession of parties, relay of evidence”, is usually said in the legal environment before the emergence of elements of this type. However, for the process in question, the element published in England will not necessarily be decisive. Judges Eggleston, Andreasen and Al-Ansari will have to determine several things, starting by assigning truth to the testimony, beyond the fact that it has been published by a recognizable media outlet. According to a specialist in this type of procedure, questions arise almost spontaneously. “It is an audio that comes from four years ago and it is not known if it is really the player. It remains to be seen if it has much probative value. In principle, it does not change things much”, he explains, taking distance from the Chilean optimism. “This topic has been going around for more than 4 years. Nothing is new to us. I understand the sensationalism of the media, but beyond that we only wait for the resolutions”, responded to El Deportivo Carlos Manzur, vice president of the Ecuadorian soccer federation, in relation to the discovery.
Since it became known that Castillo would have to appear before the judges, a key move according to Carlezzo, because he considers that the soccer player would be incapable of sustaining an eventual lie subjected to a scenario of extreme pressure, in Ecuador they downplayed the diligence and questioned the player’s participation. “Eye. It’s not a citation. A citation starts a process. Someone is quoted who is told that a process has been opened against him. This is a summons to a hearing. Like the FEF or the Chilean Federation. There is no disciplinary process instituted against the player. He is not being judged”, warned Manzur himself, in another statement to El Deportivo.
To its turn, Andres Holguin, the player’s lawyer, was categorical, in an interview with this medium. “Byron will not appear at the hearing on the 15th at FIFA either in person or online”, affirms the legal representative of the soccer player, who also highlighted that the audio in question had been dismissed by the ordinary Ecuadorian courts in the framework of the investigations for the same matter. That element is key, because FIFA does not contradict the countries’ own sentences. Chile has already been informed that Castillo will not attend the hearing.
“To give an opinion, he would have to have all the elements in sight, but in principle the lawyer said that he is not going to go and It seems to me the most prudent. You don’t earn anything. What’s going to win. They call him as a witness to confront him about his birth certificate. The deeper issue is that he is accused of a falsification, but not of the federation, but of the issuance of an autonomous government entity. FIFA has no way to get into the subject. It’s a riot of lights”, estimates the lawyer José Joaquín Laso, a specialist in Sports Law. The jurist is also skeptical about the usefulness of management. “I would be very surprised if it turned out. If FIFA accepts the claim, it would imply that the Ecuadorian civil registry would be fixing things. It is not the same as the sports record”, he points.
However, those who are thoroughly familiar with FIFA regulations warn that the Ecuadorian move is risky. “In principle, the parties are obliged to cooperate. If he does not appear, Castillo can open a disciplinary procedure”, they point.
Castillo’s absence from the hearing will undoubtedly be a controversial element.. In principle, because it would dismantle Carlezzo’s main strategy, in a request which was welcomed by FIFA. And, secondly, because it can effectively change the focus of the investigation. The disciplinary procedure that, theoretically, would have to be opened would not involve sanctions to the federation, but only to the player.
In this scenario, although it is only an interpretation, it is possible to think that Ecuador chooses to ‘sacrifice’ Castillo, although that eventual play could cause serious damage to the player, who could be exposed to harsh sanctions.
Carlezzo has internally insisted on the importance of Castillo being summoned. In his logic, the player would not resist the avalanche of questions that he would receive and, inevitably, two options would open: that falls into contradictions and ends up confessing. The latter is, directly, the most favorable scenario for Chilean claims. “If there’s a confession on trial, it changes everything”, they point out in the sports legal environment.
Either way, that option seems highly unlikely. First, because of Castillo’s refusal to appear and, finally, because if he confessed to an infraction of this magnitude, he would be mortgaging his future. “I would finish his career,” says a specialist. “In the best case, by leading the player to declare, he will deny”, estimate.
Time is a key factor. The start of the World Cup is scheduled for November 20, precisely with the team that includes Castillo as the protagonist, against the host, Qatar. That deadline is already an urgency. However, there is another element that must necessarily be considered: it is taken for granted that any of the federations that is harmed by the ruling will resort to the TASwhich will also have to resolve the dispute in record time, apart from the fact that Ecuador has threatened not to access the abbreviated procedure that would shorten the time for a determination.
This Thursday’s hearing is decisive, although the opinion will not necessarily be known immediately. What is taken for granted is that the failure will take a short time. “A couple of days”, specify those familiar with the procedures. The clock ticks. With the diligence in the TAS above and the World Cup just around the corner, no one has room to meditate too much.