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regular-article-logo Monday, 22 July 2024

Address injustice, says AIFF seeking probe into Qatar's controversial goal in World Cup qualifier

The goal sparked widespread outrage as it deprived the Indians of what would have been their maiden entry into the third round of the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers for the 2026 edition

PTI New Delhi Published 12.06.24, 12:43 PM
India's Sunil Chhetri during the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers match against Qatar, at Kalinga Stadium, in Bhubaneswar.

India's Sunil Chhetri during the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers match against Qatar, at Kalinga Stadium, in Bhubaneswar. File picture

The All India Football Federation has sought an investigation into the controversial goal awarded to Qatar in their crucial World Cup qualifying match in Doha, AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey said on Wednesday while urging the concerned authorities to "address the injustice".

The AIFF chief said India have asked for a thorough investigation into the goal that was allowed by South Korean referee Kim Woo-Sung despite the ball clearly going out of play during the must-win match that the visitors lost 1-2 at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium on Tuesday.

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"Victory and defeat are part and parcel of the game, we have learned to accept gracefully, although one of the two goals scored against India yesterday night left a few questions unanswered," Chaubey said in a statement.

The goal sparked widespread outrage as it deprived the Indians of what would have been their maiden entry into the third round of the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers for the 2026 edition.

"We have written to FIFA Head of Qualifiers, AFC Head of Referees, and the match commissioner, regarding the grave supervision error that practically cost us a place in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers Round 3.

"Given it's severity, We call upon concerned officials for a thorough investigation. We have urged them to explore the possibilities of sporting compensation to address the injustice and we trust that FIFA and AFC will take necessary steps," he added.

Iran's Hamed Momeni was the match commissioner for the game. The role requires him to supervise the organisation of the match and ensure that FIFA regulations are adhered to during the game.

In the 73rd minute, Abdullah Alahrak's free-kick saw Yousef Ayem attempt a header, which was saved by India skipper and goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.

But as the custodian lay on the ground seeing the ball roll over the line, Hashmi Hussein kicked it into play with Aymen slotting it into the net.

Since the ball had visibly rolled out of play, the game should have stopped and then resumed with a corner-kick in this case as Sandhu was the last player to come in contact with the ball before it went out.

But, to the frustration of the Indian players, the referee awarded the goal to Qatar and despite the visiting team protesting vehemently, the on-field official upheld his decision.

According to FIFA rules, "the ball is out of play if it is wholly passed over the goal line or touchline on the ground or in the air." India coach Igor Stimac later expressed his dismay by stating that the "irregular" goal killed his team's dream.

Sandhu called it an "unfortunate result" demonstrated that "no one will hand us anything, we have to take it!"

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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