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World Cup 2022: FIFA charges Ecuador over fan chants at opening match


Chants by fans of Ecuador’s national team at the opening match of the World Cup have resulted in disciplinary actions.

The chants have been widely categorized as discriminatory. FIFA officials announced the charge came about “due to chants” at the game against host country Qatar on Sunday. 

FIFA cited the discrimination section of its disciplinary code.

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Ecuador's fans celebrate after a World Cup group A soccer match between Qatar and Ecuador at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022.

Ecuador’s fans celebrate after a World Cup group A soccer match between Qatar and Ecuador at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022.
(AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

According to reports, the chants were directed at Chile. The South American country brought a legal case prior to the start of the World Cup in an attempt to take Ecuador’s place.

Chile alleged Ecuador was using an ineligible player.

Chile claimed to have documents that proved the player in question, Ecuador’s Byron Castillo, who is Chilean, was never eligible to play for Ecuador. Chile ultimately lost its appeal.

Byron Castillo of Ecuador during a match between Japan and Ecuador at Merkur Spiel-Arena Sept. 27, 2022. in Duesseldorf, Germany.

Byron Castillo of Ecuador during a match between Japan and Ecuador at Merkur Spiel-Arena Sept. 27, 2022. in Duesseldorf, Germany.
(James Williamson/AMA/Getty Images)

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It is unclear how long FIFA will need to handle the charges against the Ecuadorian soccer federation, which is held responsible for fan behavior at matches.

Karim Boudiaf of the Qatar national soccer, center right, heads the ball during the opening match of the FIFA World Cup between host Qatar and Ecuador at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022.

Karim Boudiaf of the Qatar national soccer, center right, heads the ball during the opening match of the FIFA World Cup between host Qatar and Ecuador at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022.
(Christopher Pike/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Ecuador fans also drew attention to their chants in Spanish of “We want beer” during the team’s 2-0 win at Al Bayt Stadium. 

Organizers banned the sale of alcoholic beer at the eight tournament stadiums days before the event was scheduled to start.

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“Following discussions between host country authorities and FIFA, a decision has been made to focus the sale of alcoholic beverages on the FIFA Fan Festival, other fan destinations and licensed venues, removing sales points of beer from … stadium perimeters,” FIFA said in a statement.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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