Ecuador leave Castillo out of World Cup squad to avoid 'unfair sanctions'

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Ecuador have left Byron Castillo out of their World Cup squad to avoid "unfair sanctions", despite the defender being cleared to play by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Castillo was the subject of a long-running dispute after Chile and Peru complained to FIFA that he was ineligible to play for Ecuador in their successful qualifying campaign.

The Federacion de Futbol de Chile provided proof that Castillo was born in Colombia and not Ecuador, as stated on his official documents.

FIFA dismissed all charges in June and again in September when the fresh evidence came to light, but Chile and Peru took the case to CAS with a further appeal.

However, this month's hearing adjudged "no violation of the rules on eligibility has occurred", leaving Ecuador and Castillo free to compete in Qatar.

But Ecuador, who face host nation Qatar in the opening game of the tournament on Sunday, did not include Castillo in their 26-man squad on Tuesday.

The Ecuadorian Football Federation said in a statement: "The process we've had to endure has not been easy to navigate, much less for the player, who is part of our family.

"In order to avoid further unfair sanctions, the Ecuadorian Football Federation feels obligated to not include Byron Castillo Segura in the final list that was submitted to FIFA."

Castillo appeared eight times in qualifying for Ecuador, who finished in the fourth and final automatic qualification spot.

Peru finished fifth and were beaten 5-4 on penalties by Australia following a goalless draw in the intercontinental play-offs, while seventh-placed Chile missed out entirely.

Ecuador follow up their curtain-raising showdown against Qatar with games against the Netherlands and Senegal in Group A.