Bulgarian Bogdan Dochev – the assistant referee who failed to spot Maradona’s Hand of God goal against England at the 1986 World Cup – has died aged 80.
Argentina won the quarter-final tie 2-1 – with Tunisian referee Ali Bin Nasser later claiming he was waiting for Dochev to give him an indication of whether he had seen anything.
Dochev said later: “Diego Maradona ruined my life. He is a brilliant footballer but a small man.
“He is low in height and as a person.”
Discussing the incident with the Bulgarian media a few years ago, he added: “Although I felt immediately there was something irregular, back in that time FIFA didn’t allow the assistants to discuss the decisions with the referee.
“If Fifa had put a referee from Europe in charge of such an important game, the first goal of Maradona would have been disallowed.”
TV pictures showed Bin Nasser looking towards Dochev as he was running back towards the centre circle after the goal had been scored.
And Bin Nasser added: “I was waiting for Dochev to give me a hint of what exactly happened but he didn’t signal for a handball.
“The instructions Fifa gave us before the game were clear – if a colleague was in a better position than mine, I should respect his view.”
Dochev was Bulgaria’s top referee in the 1970s and 1980s and also officiated at the 1982 World Cup. He took charge of the first leg of the 1983 Uefa Cup final between Anderlecht and Benfica.
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