Viji hits back at ex-Pak­istan cap­tain

New Straits Times - - Sport -

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

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