Ecuador faces World Cup exit with new evidence that Byron Castillo is Colombian

Ecuador faces a World Cup exit after Sportsmail obtained new evidence of a shocking confession from one of its players using a forged birth certificate, with the confession made in an official investigation that was covered up by the Ecuadorean Football Federation. [FEF].

The astonishing revelation in FIFA’s investigation into the Byron Castillo case comes days before the appeals committee is set to rule on the matter on Thursday, and could change the identity of Qatar’s opponents in the first World Cup match and who England will face in the case. last 16.

An unusual story involving alleged false identities and an apparent cover-up by the Ecuadorean federation centers on the question of whether Castillo, a right-back who has appeared in eight World Cup qualifiers, was born in the country or crossed the border in Colombia.

In new evidence that would send shock waves through South American football and create a major headache for FIFA, Sportsmail today publishes an audio recording of an interview Castillo had with investigators four years ago, in which he said:

  • He clearly states that he was born in 1995 as opposed to the 1998 date given on his Ecuadorean birth certificate.
  • He gives his full name as Bayron Javier Castillo Segura, matching the details of his Colombian birth certificate, rather than the name on the Ecuadorean certificate, Byron David Castillo Segura.
  • Describes in detail leaving the Colombian city of Tumaco for San Lorenzo, Ecuador to pursue a football career.
  • An Ecuadorean businessman gave him a new identity.

Byron Castillo played eight times when Ecuador qualified for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, but Sportsmail has new evidence of his admission that he is Colombian.

His real name is Byron Javier Castillo Segura and his Colombian birth certificate shows it

His real name is Byron Javier Castillo Segura and his Colombian birth certificate shows it

Above is a copy of the document showing the player's Colombian baptismal certificate

Above is a copy of the document showing the player’s Colombian baptismal certificate

The recording comes from an official interview that the FIFA Chairperson of the FIFA Inquiry Committee had with Castillo in 2018. In another seismic development, Sportsmail today publishes a letter summarizing the findings of the inquiry, which was delivered to the FIFA President and the Disciplinary Committee in December 2018.

The letter states that Castillo is a Colombian national born in Tumaco in 1995, plus they have audio proof of the player’s confession. Despite this in 2019, FIFA officially determined that Castillo was an Ecuadorean citizen.

FIFA had been investigating Castillo’s case since April when he received a formal complaint from the Chilean Football Association, claiming he was ineligible to represent Ecuador because he was a Colombian citizen who had entered Ecuador as an illegal immigrant.

Hosts Qatar are set to play Ecuador in the World Cup’s opening match on November 20, so to take them out of the tournament at this late stage would be a huge embarrassment to FIFA, which in June dismissed Chile’s complaint that Castillo had been born. in Ecuador. This evidence was not presented at the June session.

FIFA is due to make a decision on whether Ecuador will be banned from participating in the World Cup

FIFA is due to make a decision on whether Ecuador will be banned from participating in the World Cup

The Chile case centers on allegations that Castillo was born in Tumaco, Colombia, in 1995, while his passports state that he was born in 1998 in General Villamil, Ecuador. There are two birth certificates registering slightly different names associated with the player which were also published by Sportsmail today – one from Colombia (Bayron Javier Castillo Segura) and the other from Ecuador (Byron David Castillo Segura.) The Colombian certificate states that Castillo was born on July 25, 1995 and the Ecuadorean certificate is date His birth is November 10, 1998.

Doubts about Castillo’s identity first surfaced in 2015 when his proposed transfer between Ecuadorean clubs Nortemerca and FC Emelec collapsed due to ‘irregularities’ in his documents.

In 2018, Norteamerica was suspended by FIFA after being found guilty of sponsoring and making use of false documents for players, prompting FIFA to set up an independent investigation committee to examine the issue of fake passports used by football clubs across the country.

The crucial interview with Castillo in which he appears to admit that his official documents were forged took place in Ecuador in December 2018. In the interview, Detective Castillo asked, “When were you born exactly?” He replied: “At 95”. The investigator’s next questions are, “And in what year is the ID card?” Inquiry who gets the response “98”.

Castillo was then asked, “What are your real names?” He replied, “Byron Javier Castillo Segura.”

This is the documentation accompanying Byron Castillo during the Ecuadorean investigation

This is the documentation accompanying Byron Castillo during the Ecuadorean investigation

Byron Castillo was a key player for Ecuador's World Cup qualifiers

Byron Castillo was a key player for Ecuador’s World Cup qualifiers

Castillo goes on to describe in some detail leaving his home in Tumaco for San Lorenzo, which is about 50 miles above the border in Ecuador.

“I crossed the border because, you know, teams from Tumaco play in San Lorenzo,” Castillo says. I went to do some testing in San Lorenzo, and I remember that well. I was never selected to join any of the teams in those trials, but my friend who was selected never showed up, so I went instead.

“I came home, and told my parents I had to go, but at that time we had no money, and I remember it well. There was no money. And I started crying. So my dad said maybe again and my mom too. My mother was worried, she did not want to do this to me and this and that. And I was worried. My father left around seven, and came back at the age of 11 or 12, with 20,000 Colombian pesos cash. With that I traveled to San Lorenzo.

I arrived and didn’t know how to fix things. I did not know. They said this and that. We will, we will help you. I needed help. I came here because I wanted to help my family. I knew the situation there in Tomako. I arrived and started playing without any problem, oblivious. And only now I see all the problems appear.

Castillo also names Norteamerica’s owner, Marco Zambrano, as the man responsible for presenting his new papers and fake ID. “Marco Zambrano did everything for you in the beginning?” asked. “Sure,” Castillo replied, “he told me he would help me, this and that.”

The name Byron Castillo is given on the Ecuadorean birth certificate

The name Byron Castillo is given on the Ecuadorean birth certificate

The audio recording released by Sportsmail today will pressure FIFA’s appeal committee to take decisive action, as well as raise questions for the Ecuadorean FEF, which appears to have ignored the results of its investigation.

Castillo had already made his international debut for Ecuador at junior level at the time of the investigation in 2018, but he didn’t make his major international debut until 2021, when he won his first 10 matches so far.

Castillo has never addressed his citizenship issue publicly, but has been asked to appear via video link before FIFA’s Appeals Committee to answer their questions. It is not known at present if he intends to attend.

In addition to Castillo’s admission of his date of birth and the fact that he left Tumaco for San Lorenzo, there is substantial documentary evidence that strongly suggests he was born in Colombia, some of which was published by Sportsmail last month.

The Chilean Football Association has received a baptismal certificate from Tumaco in the name of Bayron Javier Castillo Segura, but there is no certificate in the name of Byron David Castillo Segura. Colombia’s birth certificate has been validated by the Birth Registry Office and the Ministry of Foreign Relations, but Ecuador’s birth certificate has not been recognized by the country’s civil registry.

Ecuador could give way to Chile, which it hopes to replace in the World Cup

Ecuador could give way to Chile, which it hopes to replace in the World Cup

In addition, the signature of his father Harnson José Castillo in the Ecuadorean document does not correspond to the signature in the Colombian document. In 2018, a report by the Director General of the Civil Registry of Ecuador declared that Castillo’s Ecuadorean birth certificate was not in its internal records, concluding that it was false.

Chile will be hoping to replace Ecuador if they are eliminated from the World Cup, as Castillo played against them in two qualifying matches with just one point.

If FIFA follows the last precedent by awarding two 3-0 wins in the event of a complaint against Ecuador, Chile will rise from seventh to fourth in the South American qualifiers ahead of Peru on goal difference, earning a spot. in Qatar. Peru is another potential beneficiary if Ecuador is simply sent off with all their matches lost, as they finished fifth in the table.

In 2016, Bolivia was stripped of four World Cup finals for fielding ineligible defender Nelson Cabrera, who had previously represented Paraguay, with Chile and Peru winning 3-0 as a result.

FIFA and the FEF declined to comment.