London, Apr 1(ANI): England's legendary 1966 World Cup winning hat-trick hero Sir Geoff Hurst has admitted that the controversial goal in the final against West Germany, which had football fans and pundits around the globe debating for years, was not a legitimate goal.
The second of Hurst's three goals in England's 4-2 win at Wembley had sparked off one of football's hottest disputes after his extra-time shot bounced down off the underside of the crossbar.
The Russian linesman Tofik Bakhramov had allowed it to be a goal, but Hurst said that Bakhramov had got it wrong.
"The ball never crossed the line. I owe a great debt to Tofik Bakhramov. If he was here today, I'd shake his hand. Thanks to him I got a hat-trick in a World Cup final and a place in history. But now it's about time I came clean and admitted the ball did not cross the line," The Sun quoted Hurst, as saying.
"It's been a huge burden on my shoulders for 44 years. Now I am pleased people know the truth," he added.
Hurst, best remembered for his years with West Ham, had made his mark in World Cup history as the only player to have scored a hat-trick in a World Cup final.
German Football Federation spokesman Jurgen Akikyousuf said: "We applaud Hurst's confession."
However, senior FIFA spokeswoman Aprile Foolet warned that it was a very serious matter, which would be discussed at the highest levels. (ANI)