ECUADOR have avoided being booted out of the World Cup for fielding an ineligible player.

Chile had been increasingly confident they would be promoted from SEVENTH place in South American qualifying into the fourth and final slot after claiming Ecuador right-back Byron Castillo was ineligible because he was actually born in Colombia.

Castillo featured in eight of Ecuador’s 18 qualifying games including both matches against Chile, who wanted their rivals to see each of those matches recorded as 3-0 defeats.

But after a month-long investigation, Fifa announced that there will be NO action taken.

Fifa said: “After analysing the submissions of all parties concerned and considering all elements brought before it, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee has decided to close the proceedings initiated against the Ecuador Federation.

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The world body added: “The Disciplinary Committee’s findings were notified today to the parties concerned.

No action has been taken against Ecuador or Castillo (right) Credit: Getty

“In accordance with the relevant provisions of the FIFA Disciplinary Code, the parties have ten days in which to request a motivated decision.

“The present decision remains subject to an appeal before the FIFA Appeal Committee.”

It means Chile retain the right to demand a second hearing after being insistent they had clear evidence that Castillo should not have been allowed to play and used fraudulent documentation to claim Ecuadorean status.

But Fifa’s decision renders Chilean hopes of a World Cup reprieve in tatters.

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It also has a knock-on effect on England’s preparations for Qatar 2022.

Ecuador will now remain in Group A alongside Holland, Senegal and the hosts, whom they meet in their opening match on November 21.

But with England in group B, they will face a side from that quartet in the last 16 if they go through.

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