Ecuador have decided to drop defender Byron Castillo from their 26-man World Cup squad after an eligibility furor that could have seen the nation kicked out of the tournament.
This is despite the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling that Castillo is indeed an Ecuadorian national and can play at the showpiece event.
Chile and Peru had claimed Castillo was ineligible to play in the South American qualifier; if so, Ecuador could have lost points and been expelled from the World Cup, replaced by one of their rivals.
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They argued that Castillo was born in Colombia in 1995, not in Ecuador in 1998, as his documents show.
Ecuador was still sanctioned for “use of a document containing false information”, accompanied by a deduction of three points for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers as well as a fine of 100,000 Swiss francs.
Coach Gustavo Alfaro ultimately decided not to name Castillo in his squad. Ecuador take on Qatar in the opening game of the AEDT World Cup on Monday morning.
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THE QATAR SHOCK $112M BEER CRUSH
Budweiser may be a major sponsor of FIFA, but the famous beer company quickly learns that doesn’t mean it’s exempt from Qatar’s alcohol laws.
Although alcohol is not banned in Qatar, strict regulations forced Budweiser to relocate its sales stalls, which were originally intended to be located directly outside the World Cup stadiums.
Budweiser had previously been banned from setting up stands inside the stadiums themselves.
However, the report of The New York Times claims that Budweiser has now been ordered to move stalls to even less visible locations.
A Budweiser spokeswoman said The New York Times that the company is “working with FIFA to move concession outlets to the locations indicated”.
Budweiser owner AB InBev, meanwhile, said Sky News“AB InBev was notified on November 12 and is working with FIFA to relocate the concession outlets to the locations indicated. We are working with FIFA to provide the best possible experience for fans.
“Our goal is to provide the best possible customer experience under the new circumstances.”
Budweiser has an A$112 million deal to sponsor the World Cup.
FRANCE STAR LLORIS REJECTS PROTESTS
France captain Hugo Lloris has distanced himself from a planned anti-discrimination campaign at the World Cup, as a number of teams grapple with how best to address human rights issues in Qatar.
FIFA this month asked nations to avoid taking a political stance on hosts Qatar, who have come under scrutiny for the mistreatment and death of migrant workers, ultra-conservative social laws and repression of the LGBTQIA+ community.
And Lloris says the outcry is simply too late.
“Honestly, I agree [with FIFA’s sentiment]”, said Lloris. “There is too much pressure on the players. We are at the bottom of the chain.
“If you have to push, first it had to be 10 years ago. Now it’s too late. You have to understand that for players, this opportunity comes every four years and you want every chance to succeed. The focus must be on the pitch. The rest is for the politicians. We are athletes.
Lloris has hinted that he won’t be wearing a rainbow armband (with a rainbow heart) – the ‘OneLove’ campaign kicked off in the Netherlands in September. Eight of Europe’s 13 teams signed up for the campaign and were required to wear the unique armbands to protest against Qatar’s repressive same-sex laws.
FIFA-mandated teams must use armbands provided by the governing body, and Lloris inferred he will follow the regulations.
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“Before we start anything, we need the agreement of FIFA, the agreement of the [French] federation,” Lloris said. “Of course, I have my personal opinion on the subject. And it’s pretty close to [French federation] Of the president.
French Football Federation president Noël Le Graët has previously said he would prefer his nation not to wear the armband because it could be seen as lecturing other nations.
“When we are in France, when we welcome foreigners, we often want them to follow our rules, to respect our culture, and I will do the same when I go to Qatar, quite simply,” said Lloris. “I may or may not agree with their ideas, but I have to show respect.”
Meanwhile, Denmark head coach Kasper Hjulmand said on Monday the team would ‘focus on football’ in Qatar, after FIFA rejected the country’s request to wear special rights defending shirts. of man in training.
Speaking to reporters on the eve of the Danish squad’s departure for the World Cup, Hjulmand said they had as a group “decided that we would focus on football”.
“Now we are here, the day before our trip, and for us, our expectation is that we land and do our job,” Hjulmand said.
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Last week, FIFA rejected a Danish request to be allowed to wear shirts bearing the message “Human rights for all” during training sessions in Qatar.
“We won’t wear this jersey at all,” Jakob Jensen, CEO of the Danish Football Association (DBU), told AFP on Monday.
Jensen said that while FIFA’s decision not to allow the shirts had followed “standard procedure”, he added that they believed the message “wasn’t very political because it should be a statement that any the world could support”.
At the same time, Jensen echoed Hjulmand’s sentiment.
“The players are here to play football, they dream of winning the World Cup, they should be able to concentrate on the game,” Jensen said, adding that it was then up to him “and the management of the Danish FA to have discussions on human rights.
“They are absolutely free to express themselves, some have, but it’s also normal that some of them want to focus only on football,” he said.
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FIRST FOREIGNERS ARRESTED FOR SCALPING
Qatar announced its first arrests of World Cup ticket sellers on Monday, with three foreign men being held outside official ticketing centers in Doha.
Six days before the start of the tournament, the Interior Ministry said that “three people of different nationalities” have been arrested and are now facing criminal charges.
The ministry issued a statement on Twitter but did not specify the nationalities of those arrested, saying only that the men were caught “reselling tickets” outside “official outlets”.
Queues form daily outside the main FIFA ticketing center in central Doha, with people hoping to buy wanted match tickets.
The statement said those arrested could face fines of up to 250,000 riyals (A$102,500) for each ticket sold.
FIFA and the Qatari government repeatedly warn against counterfeit World Cup products. Last week, authorities reported the seizure of 144 counterfeit World Cup trophies.
Previously, car license plates illegally using World Cup images and counterfeit clothing using official logos have been targeted by authorities.
Last year, a factory producing perfume bottles with the World Cup brand was raided.