FIFA or­ders Bo­livia to for­feit two World Cup qual­i­fiers

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

FIFA has or­dered Bo­livia to for­feit two World Cup qual­i­fy­ing matches for field­ing an in­el­i­gi­ble player, a rul­ing that im­proves Chile's qual­i­fi­ca­tion chances and harms Ar­gentina's.

FIFA said yes­ter­day that Bo­livia's 0-0 draw with Chile and 2-0 win over Peru in Septem­ber are now 3-0 losses by de­fault.

Chile gains two points to lift it level with Ar­gentina on points and goal dif­fer­ence in fifth place in the South Amer­i­can qual­i­fy­ing group. The fifth­place team en­ters a play­off against a team from Ocea­nia to de­cide which ad­vances to play in Rus­sia.

"The sanc­tion re­lates to the player Nel­son Cabr­era who was fielded by Bo­livia in breach of the rules on el­i­gi­bil­ity to play for rep­re­sen­ta­tive teams," FIFA said in a state­ment.

FIFA re­ceived com­plaints from Chile and Peru about Paraguay-born de­fender Cabr­era, who pre­vi­ously played for Paraguay's na­tional team.

Bo­livia used the 33-year-old Cabr­era as a late sub­sti­tute in both dis­puted matches, in La Paz, Bo­livia, on Septem­ber 1, and five days later in San­ti­ago, Chile. Bo­livia did not in­clude Cabr­era in its squad ahead of a 5-0 loss at Brazil on Oc­to­ber 6.

It was un­clear if Bo­livia failed to ap­ply prop­erly for Cabr­era's trans­fer of al­le­giance, or if he was never el­i­gi­ble for his se­cond na­tional team.

De­spite the FIFA in­ves­ti­ga­tion, Bo­livia al­ready had lit­tle chance of qual­i­fy­ing. It will stay in ninth place in the 10team group, now with only four points af­ter 10 matches.

Bo­livia can ap­peal the de­ci­sion.

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