By Chineze Ogugua
Bolivia’s appeal against the forfeiture of two World Cup qualifying games for fielding an ineligible player has been upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sports, which has put a dent on Argentina’s chances of qualifying.
CAS upheld FIFA’s decision to hand to 3-0 defeats to Bolivia in games played last September against Chile and Peru as they fielded Paraguay-born defender Nelson Cabrera as a late substitute in both disputed games.
Cabrera fulfilled Bolivian requirements for nationalisation, having lived in the country for three years. FIFA, though, requires a five-year period of residence.
By this decision, Chile retains the fourth position which is the automatic qualifying place in the South American group, one point ahead of Argentina in fifth place.
The fifth place team will play the intercontinental playoff spot against New Zealand or Solomon Islands.
South American qualifiers set to resume on Thursday will see Chile host Paraguay and Argentina play at Uruguay. Five days later, Chile play Bolivia and Argentina host Venezuela.