India demand review of controversial Qatari goal that ended their 2026 WC campaign

June 13 – The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has demanded FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) investigate Qatar’s controversial goal in recent World Cup qualifiers that ended India’s hopes of reaching the third round of the campaign. 

Earlier this week the Blue Tigers collapsed in the second half of their crunch World Cup qualifier against Qatar to lose the match 2-1 and crash out of World Cup qualifying for the 2026 finals. However, the ball went out of touch when Qatar equalised, leading to protest from the Indians, and on Wednesday AIFF president Kalyan Chaubey urged the world federation and the AFC to “address the injustice”.

“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,” said Chaubey in a statement.

“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 its 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.”

The defeat was a major blow to India, whose manager Igor Stimac had downplayed the importance of the recent Asian Cup to focus on the aim of reaching the third round of World Cup qualifying as Asia will have at least eight representatives at the 48-team finals in 2026.

At a news conference following India’s defeat, Stimac said: “Qatar were lucky tonight, especially because they came back from 0-1 with an irregular goal. I can confirm that now because I have seen the replay. The whole ball was out of play and the goal was given. It shouldn’t be happening in today’s football because that goal changed everything in this game.”

“It could’ve happened to Qatar today and I would say the same. I’m not looking for an excuse. I feel sad that when you have 23 boys working really hard and living the dream, to achieve something, and that dream is killed because we didn’t stop such things from happening.”

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