Castillo left out of Ecuador’s 26-man World Cup squad

Nov 14 (Reuters) – Ecuador have excluded defender Byron Castillo from their 26-man World Cup squad, despite the player being deemed an Ecuadorian national by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

CAS ruled earlier this month that Ecuador could play at the World Cup in Qatar after rejecting a claim from Chile that Castillo had not been cleared to play in the qualifiers.

But coach Gustavo Alfaro decided not to recall Castillo after Ecuador were awarded a three-point deduction for 2026 World Cup qualifiers and a 100,000 Swiss franc ($106,033.29) fine for “the use of a document containing false information”.

In September, FIFA rejected Chile’s appeal following its initial complaint that Castillo was born in Tumaco, Colombia, in 1995 and not in the Ecuadorian town of general Villamil Playas in 1998, as stated on its official documents.

However, CAS said the Ecuadorian Football Federation (FEF) violated Article 21 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code for using a document containing false information.

Ecuador have always denied the player was ineligible. The FEF said they used the correct eligibility criteria to select Castillo and are analyzing the next steps as they disagree with the sanction imposed.

Alfaro chose to select key players for the qualifying matches like goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez, midfielder Carlos Gruezo as well as strikers Enner Valencia and Kevin Rodriguez.

“I’m here to give opportunities…I said the doors to the national team are open because I’ve called players aged 18 to 38 and all of them have had their place,” the manager said during of a press conference on Saturday.

“I know that these players are very committed… Now I have to analyze if they take these opportunities in order to provide what the team needs,” added Alfaro.

Ecuadorian vice-president Alfredo Borrero will be in the opening match of the tournament on Sunday when the country takes on Qatar, as president Guillermo Lasso will not be present.

Ecuador will also face Senegal and the Netherlands in Group A.


Goalkeepers: Alexander Dominguez (Liga de Quito), Hernan Galindez (Aucas), Moises Ramirez (Independiente del Valle).

Defenders: Pervis Estupinan (Brighton & Hove Albion), Angelo Preciado (Gent), Piero Hincapie (Bayer Leverkusen), Xavier Arreaga (Seattle Sounders), Diego Palacios (Los Angeles FC), Jackson Porozo (Troyes), Robert Arboleda (Sao Paulo ), Felix Torres (Santos Laguna), William Pacho (Royal Antwerp FC).

Midfielders: Moises Caicedo (Brighton), Jose Cifuentes (Los Angeles FC), Alan Franco (Talleres), Jhegson Mendez (Los Angeles FC), Carlos Gruezo (Augsburg), Gonzalo Plata (Valladolid), Angel Mena (Leon), Ayrton Preciado (Santos Laguna), Romario Ibarra (Pachuca), Jeremy Sarmiento (Brighton)

Forwards: Enner Valencia (Fenerbahce), Michael Estrada (Cruz Azul), Djorkaeff Reasco (Newell’s Old Boys), Kevin Rodriguez (Imbabura SC).

($1 = 0.9431 Swiss francs)

Reporting by Angelica Medina in Mexico City; Editing by Ken Ferris

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