AIFF files a formal complaint against Qatar’s controversial goal

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The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has lodged a formal complaint with the match commissioner, seeking a thorough investigation into a controversial goal scored by Qatar in a FIFA World Cup qualifier. The goal, validated by South Korean referee Kim Woo-Sung, was disputed as the ball had exited play before the goal was scored.

AIFF approach FIFA

The incident occurred during a critical match at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium, which India ultimately lost 1-2 on Tuesday. This defeat eliminated India’s chances of advancing to the third round of the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers for the 2026 tournament.

The controversy centres around a moment in the 73rd minute when Abdullah Alahrak’s free-kick led to Yousef Ayem’s attempted header, which India’s captain and goalkeeper, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, initially saved. However, as Sandhu was on the ground, the ball, after rolling over the line, was kicked back into play by Hashmi Hussein, allowing Aymen to score.

The rules clearly state that “the ball is out of play if it is wholly passed over the goal line or touchline on the ground or in the air,” which was evidently not adhered to in this instance. Given that the ball had visibly crossed the line, play should have been halted and resumed with a corner kick, as Sandhu was the last to touch the ball before it went out of play.

Despite protests from the Indian team, the referee awarded the goal to Qatar, a decision that stood. This 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.

India’s coach, Igor Stimac, expressed his dismay by stating that the “irregular” goal killed his team’s dream. Sandhu called it an “unfortunate result” and demonstrated that “no one will hand us anything, we have to take it!.”

The AIFF has asked for a “thorough investigation into the goal” that was allowed by the referee despite the ball clearly going out of play. The match commissioner, Hamed Momeni from Iran, is responsible for overseeing the match’s organization and ensuring compliance with FIFA regulations.

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