Viji hits back at ex-Pakistan captain
FORMER Malaysian umpire Datuk G. Vijayanathan has flayed former Pakistan captain Islahuddin Siddiqui for claiming that India’s match-winning goal in the final of the 1975 World Cup was not clean.
India won the World Cup defeating Pakistan 2-1 in the final in Kuala Lumpur but Islahuddin has claimed in his recent autobiography that umpire Vijayanathan blew for a goal when striker Ashok Kumar’s shot had rebounded off the post.
Ishahuddin repeated Pakistan’s long-silenced claim in his book, which drew Vijayanathan’s attention to an issue which he thought had been settled with pictures and video footage of the goal in public domain for years.
“It’s amazing that Islahuddin has repeated this false theory after so many years even after the entire world has seen videos of the 1975 final that clearly show the Indian goal,” Vijayanathan, who is known as ‘Viji’, told PTI in an interview on Sunday.
“The video of the 1975 final has been in public domain for years and and it’s freely available even on Youtube. Unless one wants to live a lie, the proof is available for anyone to see,” said Vijayanathan, clearly hurt with what Islahuddin has written in his book.
In Islahuddin’s book, what caught Vijayanathan’s attention was a chapter “A Goal That Wasn’t” which claims that the umpire had wrongly awarded India the goal.
Furthermore, Islahuddin has claimed he was the closest to the action and saw exactly what had happened.
“I am disgusted and disappointed that a man of his calibre and that too the captain of the Pakistan team can make such a down-graded statement,” Vijayanathan said.
“Islahuddin has probably written all this just for a certain audience, but he has forgotten then there is no law against speaking the truth.
“I umpired this final match of the 1975 Hockey World Cup in Kuala Lumpur with Alan Renaud of France. India won this exciting encounter with Ashok Kumar scoring the winning goal.
“In pictures of Ashok Kumar’s goal, you can see nine players and myself, but Islahuddin is nowhere to be seen. While I am watching the action from close to the striker and the goalkeeper, Islahuddin isn’t even visible in the zone.
“Yet, he continues to make a false claim that he was closest to the action.
“Photographs and videos do not lie. It makes me wonder why Islahuddin is saying all this.
“I cannot understand why some people refer to it as a disputed goal. In my opinion, a goal can only be termed disputed if an official protest — in writing — is made to the technical delegate after the game.
“The Pakistan players, officials and their hockey federation obviously knew the truth about India’s World Cup winning goal.
“That is why, despite several threatening calls directed at me after the 1975 final, I was invited to officiate in the 1976 Qaid-eAzam Centenary International Hockey Tournament and also in the Islahuddin Benefit Match in 1982.”
Datuk G. Vijayanathan