SAFF U-19: India, Bangladesh declared joint winners after coin-toss controversy

Following a prolonged protest by Bangladesh and India’s refusal to return to the field where missiles were being thrown and after they had won by coin toss, the teams were declared joint-winners of the SAFF under-19 women’s championship in Dhaka on Thursday. The decision was taken nearly five hours after the final began.

India were initially declared winners but then following a protest from Bangladesh, the match commissioner reversed the decision. (X @Indian Football )

India, who had lost 0-1 to the home team in the group league, were seconds away from winning the final through Sibani Devi’s early goal when Bangladesh equalised in the fourth minute of stoppage time through Mosammat Sagarika. There was no extra-time periods so penalties followed immediately. It was 11-11 with all players on the pitch converting their shots. As a Bangladesh player stepped up to take her second shot of the shootout, the referee called the captains for the coin toss. India called correctly and began to celebrate as angry chants from the big, partisan crowd reverberated around the BSSSMK Stadium.

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Shouts of “Shame on India” and “we want justice” could be heard on the live stream as both teams and the match officials stayed on the pitch long after the toss. India eft the pitch after brief celebrations during which bottles and other objects could be seen landing on the pitch. Bangladesh stayed on the pitch for an hour as did the match officials.

According to reports in the Bangladesh media, match commissioner Silva Jayasuriya Dilan had decided on the toss after the 11-11 score in the tie-breaker. But Bangladesh protested saying the coin toss was conducted before they were ready, according to media reports. After prolonged discussion, the match commissioner, according to media reports, said his decision was wrong.

The match commissioner wanted the sudden-death tie-breaker to resume with those players who were on the pitch when regulation time had ended, media reports said. The Guatemala-Guadeloupe match in the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup qualifiers had been decided that way on the 24th kick.

In the changing room when this decision was arrived at, India were given 30 minutes to come out, as per reports. They refused. Around 11 pm local time, almost three hours after the last penalty kick, the decision was taken to declare the teams joint-winners.

The AIFF acting secretary-general M Satyanarayan said: “India despite being declared winners after the spin of coin, decided to accept the officials request for sharing the trophy as the situation was simmering and a section of the home fans was found indulging in creating disturbances. Since the security of the players and other team officials is our utmost priority, the AIFF decided to agree to the request of the organisers.

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