And the most famous Egyptian football referee ever canceled two goals for Spain in the quarter-finals of the World Cup, the first due to a mistake on the striker, and the second because the ball crossed the field, according to the signal of his assistant.
At that time, Al-Ghandour was subjected to a fierce attack by the Spanish press, which accused him of complimenting the owners of the land at the expense of the “La Roja” team, which left the World Cup against South Korea on penalties.
And recently, the newspaper “Marca” remembered the Egyptian referee and the controversial meeting, after the Spanish team lost 1-2 to its French counterpart in the European Nations League final, Sunday, with a questionable goal by Kylian Mbappe, who appeared offside the moment the ball was passed to him.
The Spanish newspaper described the video technology (the mouse) as “Var Al-Ghandour”, in reference to the meeting that took place 19 years ago, and an analogy to what it considered arbitration mistakes in the European Nations League final and the quarter-finals of the 2002 World Cup.
Commenting on the “Marca” headline, Al-Ghandour said: “I am happy that the Spanish press linked the two cases, especially that Mbappe’s goal is completely correct, so the newspaper’s title was considered a tribute to me and not an attack on me.”
Al-Ghandour added to “Sky News Arabia”: “I did not make any arbitrary error in the meeting between Spain and South Korea. In the first canceled goal, there was a clear mistake on the Spain striker who attracted the South Korean defender, and in the second the assistant referee raised his flag before the ball reached the Spain striker. He pointed out that she went off the field, so the goal was canceled.”
He also explained that, “After the Spain and South Korea match, a meeting of FIFA officials and the refereeing staff was held for the meeting. It was praised, while Trinidadian assistant referee Michael Raghunath discussed the error he committed, which caused Spain to be denied the lead in overtime.”
More than one arbitration expert agreed with Al-Ghandour’s opinion on the validity of Mbappe’s goal, as they confirmed that “the player was not in an offside position because Spain defender Eric Garcia deliberately touched the ball, before it reached the French striker,” and “therefore, the English referee Anthony Taylor and the video technology referees approved target health.
Al-Ghandour indicated that “it can be accepted that the football fans do not know the laws, but it is not possible to accept the attack of the large media platforms against the rulers unjustly,” considering that “what (Marca) did reveals her ignorance of the laws of the game.”
He continued, “After the World Cup match, I received more than one invitation from the Spanish newspapers and programs to reveal its scenes, and my only condition for accepting these invitations was that there would be a confrontation between me and the head of the Spanish referees committee to discuss the cases.”
Al-Ghandour’s condition caused a delay in his media appearance in Spain, but this happened in 2018 on the “Movie Star” channel, when Lopez Nieto met the former Spanish referee, head of the appointments committee of the Spanish Football Association, and the controversial cases were presented in the mentioned match.
Al-Ghandour added, “The great Spanish referee admitted the correctness of my decisions in the meeting, and that the assistant referee had made a big mistake that caused the cancellation of Spain’s killer goal.”
He concluded his interview with “Sky News Arabia”: “The positive side of (Marca’s) attack is that it made the new generations recognize a golden period for Egyptian arbitration.”
It is noteworthy that Al-Ghandour participated in leading the World Cup matches in the 1998 editions in France and 2002 in South Korea and Japan, and managed 6 meetings, 3 in each tournament.