LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Bolivia lost its appeal against forfeiting two World Cup qualifying games for fielding an ineligible player on Tuesday, a ruling that hurts Argentina’s chances of qualifying.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport said FIFA was right to hand 3-0 losses to Bolivia in games played last September against Chile and Peru.
Because Chile and Bolivia originally drew 0-0, the CAS verdict confirms the FIFA ruling that Chile is awarded an extra two points.
Chile retains its hold on the fourth automatic qualifying place in the South American group with four rounds left. Argentina trails Chile by one point in fifth place, which would earn a playoff against a team from Oceania.
FIFA ruled that Bolivia was wrong to field Paraguay-born defender Nelson Cabrera as a late substitute in both disputed games.
The Bolivian soccer federation did not dispute in court that Cabrera failed to meet FIFA’s eligibility rules, CAS said in a statement.
However, Bolivia questioned if FIFA had the right to launch its own investigation one month after the games were played. At World Cup tournaments, protests must be lodged within one hour of the final whistle of any game.
“The (CAS) panel dismissed such arguments finding that FIFA had the right to initiate … disciplinary proceedings against Bolivia under the FIFA Disciplinary Code within a time limit of two years,” the court said.
South American qualifying resumes Thursday when Chile hosts Paraguay and Argentina plays at Uruguay. Five days later, Chile plays Bolivia and Argentina hosts Venezuela.
Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.