*** ----> AIFF Calls for investigation into controversial goal in FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

AIFF Calls for investigation into controversial goal in FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers

Hussain Almaskati

TDT | Manama

The Daily Tribune - www.newsofbahrain.com

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has filed a formal complaint with the match commissioner, urging a thorough investigation into a contentious goal awarded to Qatar during a crucial World Cup qualifying match in Doha.

AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey issued a statement demanding an examination of the incident where South Korean referee Kim Woo-Sung allowed a goal despite clear evidence of the ball going out of play.

The incident occurred in a decisive match that saw India narrowly lose 1-2 at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium. AIFF has also approached key officials including the FIFA Head of Qualifiers, the AFC Head of Referees, and the AFC Head of Competitions, seeking a review of what they describe as a “serious supervision error.” The federation suggested exploring potential sporting compensations to address the perceived injustice.

Impact on India’s World Cup Aspirations

The controversial decision has stirred outrage among Indian supporters and officials, halting India’s historic bid to advance to the third round of the 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.

AIFF emphasized that while wins and losses are part of the game, the circumstances surrounding this goal require scrutiny. The controversy unfolded in the 73rd minute when Abdullah Alahrak’s free-kick led to a header attempt by Yousef Ayem, saved by India’s goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.

As Sandhu believed the ball was out of play, Hashmi Hussein played it back into the field, allowing Aymen to score. According to the International Football Association Board, “the ball is out of play if it wholly passes over the goal line or touchline, either on the ground or in the air.”

In this instance, with Sandhu being the last to touch the ball, Indian players expected a corner kick, resulting in a momentary lapse in defense. AIFF argues the referee should have stopped play. Qatar might argue that the ball did not completely cross the touchline and was still in play. With no VAR available in the second round of FIFA World Cup qualifiers, the referee’s decision was final and unreviewable.