Indonesia Files Complaint Against Referee After Controversial Loss to Qatar in U23 Asian Cup

Indonesian U-23 team files complaint over "comedy show" refereeing in loss to Qatar, raising questions about fairness in Asian football.

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Salman Khan
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Indonesia Files Complaint Against Referee After Controversial Loss to Qatar in U23 Asian Cup

Indonesia Files Complaint Against Referee After Controversial Loss to Qatar in U23 Asian Cup

The Indonesian U-23 national football team has filed an official complaint with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) regarding the performance of referee Nasrullo Kabirov in their 2-0 loss to hosts Qatar in the opening match of the 2024 U-23 Asian Cup. Indonesian coach Shin Tae-yong strongly criticized Kabirov's decisions, calling the refereeing a "comedy show" that disadvantaged his team.

Indonesia ended the match with just nine players on the field after Ivar Jenner and Ramadhan Sananta were sent off with red cards. Shin was particularly upset with Jenner's dismissal, claiming there was no contact at all and questioning the use of VAR in that situation. The coach also received a yellow card himself during the heated contest.

Despite the numerical disadvantage, Shin praised his players for their best efforts and performance. However, he alleged signs of cheating by the organizers even before kickoff, noting that the team's route from the hotel to the stadium took an unusually long 25 minutes, which impacted their preparation .

The Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) has formally protested to the AFC regarding Kabirov's controversial officiating, which was seen as beneficial to Qatar. PSSI chairman Erick Thohir expressed disappointment with the referee's decisions, deeming them unfair and one-sided against Indonesia.

The loss puts Indonesia in a difficult position in Group A, having failed to earn points and losing two players to suspension for their next match against Australia. Around 4,000 Indonesian supporters filled the stands to back their team, but left frustrated by the outcome influenced by the referee.

Why this matters: The controversy surrounding the refereeing in this high-stakes tournament match has raised questions about fairness and officiating standards in international football. The incident has attracted significant attention in Indonesia and the wider Asian football community, with fans and officials calling for a thorough investigation into the referee's performance and the match's circumstances.

Coach Shin Tae-yong summed up Indonesia's grievances, stating, "If this kind of referee officiates the matches, it can be considered a comedy show and it will be a shame for AFC." Despite the setback, PSSI chairman Erick Thohir urged the Indonesian U-23 team to focus on their remaining group stage games against Australia and Jordan. The team will need to regroup quickly and put the disappointing result behind them as they aim to qualify for the knockout rounds of the U-23 Asian Cup.

Key Takeaways

  • Indonesia U-23 team filed complaint over referee's performance in 2-0 loss to Qatar.
  • Coach Shin Tae-yong criticized referee's decisions, calling it a "comedy show".
  • Indonesia ended match with 9 players after 2 red cards, coach also received yellow.
  • PSSI protested to AFC over unfair, one-sided officiating that benefited Qatar.
  • Loss puts Indonesia in difficult position, fans frustrated by referee's influence on match.