FIFA investigates ‘ineligible’ Bolivia player in World Cup qualifying

Bolivia's Nelson Cabrera. (Juan Karita/AP)

ZURICH — FIFA is investigating complaints from Chile and Peru that Bolivia fielded an ineligible player against them in World Cup qualifying matches.

FIFA is "gathering the necessary information and documentation to evaluate the situation and decide on potential next steps," the world soccer body said Friday.

If FIFA rules for Chile, the Copa America champions could gain two points in their ailing bid to reach the 2018 tournament in Russia.

Chile, which lost 3-0 at Ecuador on Thursday, is currently five points off a direct qualification place at the midway stage of the 10-team South American group. The top four advance and the fifth-place team, currently Argentina, enters a playoff against a team from Oceania.

The complaints from Chile and Peru are about Paraguay-born defender Nelson Cabrera, who previously played for its national team.

Bolivia used the 33-year-old Cabrera as a late substitute in beating Peru 2-0 in La Paz on Sept. 1, and five days later in a 0-0 draw against Chile in Santiago.

FIFA typically awards a 3-0 default loss against teams judged to have fielded ineligible players.

Bolivia did not include Cabrera in its squad ahead of a 5-0 loss at Brazil on Thursday.

Despite the FIFA investigation, Bolivia has little chance of qualifying. It is currently ninth in the South American group, trailing nine points behind Argentina, and could lose four more points if FIFA rules in favour of the complaints.

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