The All India Football Federation (AIFF) and broadcaster Eurosport India released a joint statement late on Friday regarding the telecast gaffe that happened during Indian men’s football team’s FIFA friendly against Oman on Thursday. Eurosport India were supposed to telecast the match for the Indian fanbase but as they were “experiencing technical difficulties from the source", the match was not televised for the Indian audience.
The Indian men’s football team played an international match after 492 days and the Indian fans were disappointed with no telecast at home and had to resort to Oman Sports TV’s streaming on YouTube and Twitter in Arabic commentary.
On Friday, AIFF and Eurosport expressed their “regret" for not being able to telecast the game and assured the Indian fans that the team’s next friendly against UAE on March 29 will “deliver an outstanding viewing experience".
“The All India Football Federation (AIFF) had worked in close liaison with the Oman Football Association to secure the rights to broadcast the FIFA friendly between India and Oman (Match) on March 25, 2021 on Eurosport India. However, due to a technical glitch, we were unable to broadcast the Match (sic). We deeply regret this event. We want to assure the fans and our stakeholders that Eurosport is working tirelessly to deliver an outstanding viewing experience for the upcoming India vs. UAE match to the best of our effort on March 29, 2021," AIFF’s statement read.
While the fans were able to watch the watch courtesy Oman Sports TV, they did not let off AIFF and Eurosport and criticised them both for not televising the game. When AIFF had posted the Eurosport update, a fan ‘Deepesh Salhotra’ replied saying, “Mujhe tweet krke update maangna chahiye kyuki mere paas number nhi hai unka tum kyu tweet krke update maang rhe ho? (I should tweet and ask for the update because I don’t have their number, why are you tweeting and asking for the update?)."
Indian national team’s fan group Blue Pilgrims tweeted, “For all those who paid for a subscription, for all those who hoped you’d watch the national team play . For all those who live in the hope that enjoying football in your country doesn’t need to be a struggle? Who do you trust? #AIFFwakeup."
India and Oman played out a 1-1 draw on Thursday with Manvir Singh scoring India’s equaliser in the second half and helping the team hold Oman to a draw. India were, for most part of the game, outplayed by their opponents who saw much more of the ball and had control of the game.
Oman’s Al-Muqbali missed a penalty in the first half but just before half time, goalkeeper Amrinder Singh let slip the ball from his hands and Chinglensana Singh, in an attempt to clear the ball from the line, helped it in.
Igor Stimac gave a debut to six players in the starting line-up, namely, Ashutosh Mehta, Akash Mishra, Sana, Bipin Singh, Suresh Singh Wangjam and Jeakson Singh. At half time, he handed Lalengmawia (aka Apuia) his debut and that changed the game for India. With Apuia holding fort in the midfield, India were able to push forward a bit more and were rewarded with a goal through Manvir Singh. Ashutosh’s pressing helped him get the ball back, which he played to Bipin. Bipin whipped in a perfect cross from the right, which Manvir headed in.