False 'match replay' claims surface in Indonesia after Uzbekistan defeat in Asian Cup

After Indonesia's national football team got knocked out of the Under-23 Asian Cup on April 29 by Uzbekistan, false posts claimed the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced the match will be replayed due to refereeing errors. The AFC made no such announcement as of May 5. The post featured an old video of the football body's president that was manipulated to make it appear he was commenting on Indonesia's recent loss.

"UZBEKISTAN SURRENDERS!! AFC Found FRAUD, U23 National Team vs Uzbekistan will be replayed on Wednesday -- It is a Must," read the Indonesian-language title of a video that racked up more than 2.7 million views after it was shared on YouTube on April 30.

The clip appeared to show AFC President Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa giving a statement in Arabic.

A narrator could then be heard saying: "It turns out the one who can beat the Indonesia national team in the U23 Asian Cup this year is the referee. Those are words said by AFC President Salman bin Khalifa to show how bad the referee's performance had been in officiating the U23 Asian Cup semifinal match between Indonesia vs Uzbekistan."

<span>Screenshot of the false post, captured on April 30, 2024</span>
Screenshot of the false post, captured on April 30, 2024

The narrator went on to criticise alleged bad calls against Indonesia when it lost 2-0 to Uzbekistan during the semi-finals of the U-23 Asian Cup -- the AFC's qualification tournament for the Olympics.

Their Central Asian rivals broke Indonesian hearts in Qatari capital Doha when Husain Norchaev tucked home a cross between two defenders in the 68th minute, and Pratama Arhan scored an own goal in the 86th minute.

The second goal came after Indonesia went down to 10 men when Rizky Ridho was sent off for a high tackle that was deemed to be violent conduct.

Similar videos were viewed more than 290,000 times on TikTokSnackVideo and Facebook here, here and here.

But there was no official announcement from the AFC's website or official Facebook and social media platform X accounts as of May 5 the match will be replayed, while the video shared in the posts was doctored (archived links here, here and here).

Manipulated clip

A keyword search on YouTube found the video was earlier published on the AFC's official channel on September 27, 2016 (archived link).

Its title read: "AFC Extraordinary Congress 2016 - AFC President Speech."

The video shows AFC President Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim giving a speech at the 2016 Extraordinary Congress in Goa, India, when the AFC Member Association decided to postpone the FIFA council elections (archived link).

The clip in the false posts was taken from 00:41 to 00:56 mark of the old YouTube video.

Below is the comparison between the clip circulating online (left) and the AFC's video (right):

<span>Screenshot comparison between the clip in the false posts (left) and AFC's video</span>
Screenshot comparison between the clip in the false posts (left) and AFC's video

In the original video, Al Khalifa could be heard speaking in English: "This is the first time that the AFC Congress has been held in Goa, and we're honoured that the Ministry of Youth and Sports here in India has been able to make his time and his busy schedule to join us all today."

An Arabic voice, which did not mention football, had been dubbed into the original. It said: "Peace be upon you, with God's mercy and blessings. I'm pleased to greet you in the name of the custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdul Aziz, may God always protect him. We ask God to help us all to advance...."

It was not clear where the audio was taken but the line is commonly used at the beginning of official speeches in Saudi Arabia.

Indonesia lost the third place match 2-1 to Iraq on May 2. But the archipelago could still qualify for the 2024 Olympics if it wins in its intercontinental match against Guinea on May 9 (archived link).