Gary Lineker has slammed former Tunisian referee Ali Bin Nasser for attempting to sell Diego Maradona’s ‘Hand of God Goal’ match ball for £3m. Ali Bin Nasser came under heavy criticism after awarding the controversial goal, but the match ball is now pegged at £3m.
The 1986 World Cup will remain fresh in the memory of football fans after the dramatic incident which saw England lose the quarterfinal game to Argentina after a controversial goal.
The center referee in the historic match was Tunisian Ali Bin Nasser.
Ali Bin Nasser, 78, awarded a controversial goal to Argentina after football icon Diego Maradona clearly parried the ball with his hand into the net.
Argentina went on to win the 1986 World Cup. When asked about the goal years after the match, Diego Maradona gave a somewhat sarcastic reply saying his hand, which led to the goal, was the “Hand of God.”
Since then, Diego Maradona’s historic goal earned the epithet “Hand of God Goal.”
The late Argentina legend and world football icon is one of the most respected figures in the game.
Maradona’s football relics have commanded a considerable market value, with former Three Lions player Steve Hodge cashing out heavily after selling Maradona’s no.10, which he got in a swap.
The shirt was reportedly sold at a whooping £7m.
Now, Ali Bin Nasser had reportedly grabbed the ‘Hand of God Goal’ match ball and kept it in his custody since the 1986 World Cup and is willing to auction it out.
With the 2022 World Cup kicking off in a few weeks, it has been understood that Ali Bin Nasser is set to auction out the match ball.
The auction price is reportedly up to £3m, £4m less than the shirt sold by Steve Hodge.
Launching a tirade on the beleaguered Tunisian ref at TalkSports, a furious Gary Lineker said;
“How the hell did the referee end up with the ball? Am I over it? Yeah, of course, I am. Not. I’m so thrilled the ref will cash in on his cock-up.”
Lineker further questioned the gall of Bin Nasser to keep the match ball in his cupboard since 1986 and bring it out now to sell with the 2022 World Cup in sight.
“But the gall of the referee keeping the ball in his cupboard for all his time, and now he’s going to cash in on the biggest referee’s mistake in the history of World Cup football”, he said. “I mean, really?”
Meanwhile, the 78-year-old Tunisian, who had never officiated a match again after the glaring error, has stated that he will split the proceeds of the sale between his two sons.
Also, the late Maradona had once visited Ali Bin Nasser in his home in Tunisia, and the duo had become long-time friends after the incident.
Maradona reportedly gifted Bin Nasser a signed Argentina shirt and has called him an “eternal friend.”
Despite the barrage of criticisms that has flooded on Bin Nasser after the incident, he had admitted that he did not see the error clearly and had looked up to the linesman for a hint.
“As for Maradona’s first goal, I couldn’t see the incident clearly. The two players, Shilton and Maradona, were facing me from behind”, Bin Nasser said.
“As per Fifa’s instructions issued before the tournament, I looked to my linesman for confirmation of the validity of the goal.
“He made his way back to the halfway line indicating he was satisfied that the goal should stand.”
The Hand of God Goal match ball will be auctioned to the highest bidder on November 16, 2022, four days before the 2022 World Cup kicks off.