The linesman who failed to signal Diego Maradona’s 1986 “Hand of God” goal against England has admitted from the grave: “I did see it.”
But Bogdan Dochev said in a never-published interview before his death that he did not intervene because the Tunisian referee did not ask his opinion.
The official, 81, died a virtual recluse in Gorna Dikanya, Bulgaria. Widow Emily and daughter Elena were among just 20 people at his funeral yesterday.
Ognian Georgiev, sports editor of Bulgaria Today, said: “He shunned society for years because of the way he felt Bulgarian football authorities treated him.
“He felt they’d pointed the finger at him for the bad decision instead of supporting him and he could never live down the shame.”
Dochev was running the line as England met Argentina in their World Cup quarter final at Mexico’s Aztec Stadium, refereed by Ali Bin Nasser.
Most of the 110,000 crowd saw 5ft 5in Maradona punch the ball in for the first goal in his team’s 2-1 win.
Speaking three years ago, Dochev said: “I saw the Argentinian played with hand.
“During those times Fifa’s rules allowed the assistant referee to give his opinion only if asked by the referee.
“The referee admitted the goal even before taking a look at me to check the situation. We never had a communication — Bin Nasser knew only his native language.”
He added: “Maradona is a big player, but a very dishonourable man.”