Sports

    AIFF seeks investigation into Qatar's controversial goal against India

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    The Hawk
    June12/ 2024
    Last Updated:

    Despite clear evidence that the ball had gone out of play, the goal was allowed by South Korean referee Kim Woo-Sung, leading to India's 1-2 defeat.

    India's Rahul Bheke in action with Qatar's Tameem Mansour Al Abdullah

    New Delhi: The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has lodged a complaint with the match commissioner, seeking a probe into the controversial goal awarded to Qatar in their crucial World Cup qualifying match in Doha.

    Sources in the AIFF said they 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 India lost 1-2 at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium on Tuesday.

    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 lodged a complaint with the match commissioner and are seeking a thorough investigation into the whole thing," said an AIFF official.

    Iran's Hamed Momeni was the match commissioner for the game. The role requires the appointed official 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 the rule, "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!"

    —PTI