ZURICH: Chile have been handed World Cup qualifying relief after the disciplinary committee of FIFA decided that Bolivia had fielded an ineligible player in their goalless draw last month.
The South American champions were awarded a 3-0 win which lifted them from seventh to fifth in the South American qualifying group and ahead of Argentina on goal difference.
Nelson David Cabrera, a 33-year-old defender, was the player concerned.
South America’s top four teams qualify directly for the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia while the fifth enter a playoff against a side from another continent.
Top four as the revised table stands are Brazil (21 points), Uruguay (20) then Ecuador and Colombia (17).
Peru, beaten 2-0 by Bolivia in La Paz in September, were also awarded a 3-0 win after Cabrera played against them as well.
The two forfeitures dropped Bolivia to next-to-bottom in the 10-team group with four points from 10 games.
FIFA rules state the players can only play for an adopted country if they have lived and played there for five years.
However Paraguayan-born Cabrera has been resident in Bolivia for only four years ago after being transferrred to Bolivar in 2012 from Chongqing Lifan of China. He had played previously with Paraguay’s Olumpia and Cerro Porteno as well as Chile’s Colo Colo and – briefly – CFR Cluj in Romania.