Ecuador could reportedly be kicked out from the 2022 World Cup following reports involving one of their players using a false birth certificate and fake passport.
Sportsmail have obtained new evidence of a shocking admission from one of Ecuador’s right-back, Byron Castillo using a false birth certificate, with the confession made in an official investigation that was covered up by the Ecuador Football Federation [FEF].
This was revealed in FIFA’s inquiry into the case of Byron Castillo and it comes days before their Appeals Commission are due to rule on the matter on Thursday.
An extraordinary story involving alleged fake identities and an apparent cover-up by the Ecuador Federation centres on the question of whether Castillo, a right-back who made eight appearances in World Cup qualifying, was born in the country or across the border in Colombia.
Sportsmail have now published an audio recording of an interview Castillo gave to investigators four years ago, in which he:
- Clearly states he was born in 1995 as opposed to the 1998 date given on his Ecuadorian birth certificate.
- Gives his full name as Bayron Javier Castillo Segura, matching the details of his Colombian birth certificate, rather than the name on the Ecuador certificate, Byron David Castillo Segura.
- Describes in detail leaving the Colombian city of Tumaco for San Lorenzo in Ecuador to pursue a career in football.
- Names an Ecuadorian businessman who provided him with a new identity.
The recording comes from a formal interview conducted by the head of the FEF’s Investigative Commission with Castillo in 2018. In another seismic development, the publication, today, published a letter outlining the conclusions of the Investigative Commission, which were delivered to the FEF’s president and Disciplinary Commission in December 2018.
The letter states that Castillo is a Colombian national who was born in Tumaco in 1995, as well as adding that they have audio proof of the player’s confession. Despite this in 2019 the FEF officially ruled that Castillo was an Ecuadorian citizen.
FIFA have been investigating Castillo since April when they received an official complaint from the Chilean FA, who claimed that he was ineligible to represent Ecuador as he is a Colombian citizen who entered Ecuador as an illegal immigrant.
But in June, FIFA dismissed Chile’s complaint with a ruling that Castillo was born in Ecuador. This evidence was not presented in the June hearing.
Chile’s case centres on allegations that Castillo was born in Tumaco, Colombia, in 1995, whereas his passport states that he was born in 1998 in General Villamil, Ecuador. There are two birth certificates registering slightly different names connected to the player which are also published by Sportsmail today – one from Colombia (Bayron Javier Castillo Segura) and another from Ecuador (Byron David Castillo Segura.)
The Colombian certificate states that Castillo was born on 25 July 1995 and the Ecuadorian certificate has his date of birth as 10 November 1998.
The doubts over Castillo’s identity first emerged in 2015 when his proposed transfer between two Ecuadorian clubs Norteamerica and Club Emelec collapsed due to ‘irregularities’ in his documentation.
The crucial interview with Castillo in which he appears to admit that his official documents are fake took place in Ecuador in December 2018. In the interview Castillo is asked by the investigator, ‘when exactly were you born?’ to which he replies, ‘In 95.’ The investigator’s next questions is, ‘And which year does the ID have?’ an inquiry which gets the response ’98.’
Castillo is then asked, ‘What are your real names?’ to which he answers, ‘Bayron Javier Castillo Segura.’
‘I crossed the border because, you know, teams from Tumaco play in San Lorenzo,’ Castillo says. ‘I went to do some trials in San Lorenzo, I remember that very well. I never got picked for any of the teams at those trials, but my friend who was picked never turned up so I went instead.
‘I went home, I told my parents that I have to go, but in that time we didn’t have any money, I remember that very well. There was no money. And I started crying. So my Dad said maybe another time and my Mum as well. My mum was worried, she didn’t want to do this to me and this and that. And I was worried. My Dad left around 7, he came back at 11 or 12, with money, 20,000 Colombian pesos. With that I travelled to San Lorenzo.
‘I arrived and I didn’t know how to fix things. I didn’t know. They said this and that. We are going to do this, we are going to help you. I needed help. I came here because I wanted to help my family. I knew the situation there in Tumaco. I arrived and started playing without any problem, oblivious. And just now I see all the problems come up.’
Castillo also names Norteamerica owner, Marco Zambrano, as the man responsible for providing his new paperwork and fake ID. ‘Marco Zambrano did everything for you at the beginning?’ he is asked. ‘Sure, he told me he was going to help me, this and that,’ Castillo replies.