AIFF Demands Investigation Over Controversial Goal in Qatar World Cup 2026 Qualifier

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has formally requested FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to investigate a controversial goal awarded to Qatar during the World Cup qualifier match against India.

The controversy erupted in the 73rd minute of the match with India leading 1-0.

Qatar’s Abdullah Alahrak executed a free-kick that led to Yousef Aymen attempting a header. Indian captain and goalkeeper, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, initially saved the attempt. However, as Sandhu was on the ground, the ball seemed to cross the goal line. Despite the ball going out of play, which should have resulted in a corner kick, the referee awarded the goal to Qatar, sparking protests from the Indian team.

AIFF Demands Investigation Over Controversial Goal in Qatar World Cup 2026 Qualifier
Nabil Irfan of Qatar and Jay Gupta of India in action. Photo Credit: Hindustan Times

Impact on the Game

The decision was pivotal, allowing Qatar to overturn India’s lead and eventually win 2-1, leading to India’s elimination from the qualifiers. The incident has sparked widespread outrage on social media, with many fans and experts criticizing the referee’s decision.

AIFF President’s Statement

AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey expressed his frustration in a strongly-worded statement, revealing that the federation has written to both FIFA and the AFC to demand an investigation. Chaubey emphasized the need for accountability and potential sporting compensation. He stated:

“Winning and losing are inevitable in sports, but one of the goals against India sparked some significant concerns. We have sent letters to the match commissioner, the AFC head of competitions, the FIFA head of qualifications, and the head of referees pointing out a serious oversight that prevented us from competing in the third round of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers. We want a comprehensive inquiry and have faith that the AFC and FIFA will act appropriately to rectify this injustice.”

Responses from Team Officials

India’s head coach Igor Stimac and goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu both criticized the decision. Stimac described the goal as “irregular,” stating it crushed his team’s dreams. Sandhu called the result “unfortunate” and emphasized the lesson that nothing is given freely in sports. 

“According to the rules, the ball is out of play if it completely crosses the goal line or touchline, on the ground or in the air,” Sandhu stated. “This unfortunate result demonstrates that no one will hand us anything; we have to take it.”

Also Read: Qatar’s Victory over India Due to the Controversial Decision by the Referee in FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifier

Next Steps

As the AIFF awaits a response from FIFA and the AFC, the incident remains a hot topic among football fans and experts. The AIFF’s call for a thorough investigation underscores the importance of fair play and accurate officiating in the sport.

For more updates on this developing story and other sports news, stay tuned to our website.

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