Following Mali’s elimination (3-1) by Spain in the semi-finals of the ongoing FIFA U-17 World Cup in India, the referee of the match has formally apologised for his errors during the Wednesday meeting.
The Japanese official, Ryuji Sato, and his linesmen paid a visit to the Malian delegation at their hotel on Thursday to say sorry for a wrong call that could have perhaps changed the fate of the encounter in favour of the African representatives.
With Spain ahead 2-0 by the 43rd minute, Mali’s Doucouré struck from long range, hitting under the crossbar, with the ball dropping inside the net and bouncing out. The goal was not allowed but video replays showed that the ball crossed the line and should have stood as a legitimate goal. Referee Sato said they realised the mistake and wanted to apologise to Mali before they depart.
The junior Eagles were the only surviving African team in the tournament following the elimination of Niger, Guinea and Ghana.
Mali are also African U-17 champions.