NEWS

Saudi Soccer Team Apologises For Failing To Acknowledge Minute's Silence For London Terror Victims

The team had said it is 'not keeping with their culture'.

09/06/2017 3:48 AM IST | Updated 10/06/2017 3:50 AM IST
Fairfax Media
The Socceroos stand in a row, observing a minute's silence for the eight victims of the London Bridge terror attack.

The Saudi Arabian soccer team has issued an official apology amid outrage that they wouldn't stand in a minute's silence to show respect for the victims of the London Bridge terror attack.

The Saudis were up against the Socceroos on Thursday night for a crucial World Cup qualifier at Adelaide Oval. A minute's silence was planned as a mark of respect for the eight victims of the London attack, in which two young Australian women were killed.

But as the Socceroos linked arms and stood in the centre of the pitch, the Saudi team stood in loose groups, or alone, not acknowledging the tribute.

According to Fairfax Media, the crowd at Adelaide Oval was silent, and some spectators supporting the Saudi team stood to pay their respects to the victims, but not the Saudi players themselves.

Fairfax Media
Tomi Juric celebrating a second goal.

Saudi players on the bench also did not stand to mark the moment.

The British media has hit out at the lack of respect, angry at what they see is a direct snub. A spokesman for Football Federation Australia (FFA) said in a statement, it had been its suggestion to stage the public memorial at the match.

Fairfax Media

"Both the AFC and the Saudi team agreed that the minute of silence could be held. The FFA was further advised by Saudi team officials that this tradition was not in keeping with Saudi culture and they would move to their side of the field and respect our custom whilst taking their own positions on the field."

In a statement, the Saudi Arabian Football Federation said it "deeply regrets and unreservedly apologises for any offence caused" by the players' actions. '

"The players did not intend any disrespect to the memories of the victims or to cause upset to their families, friends or any individual affected by the atrocity," a statement read.

"The Saudi Arabian Football Federation condemns all acts of terrorism and extremism and extends its sincerest condolences to the families of all the victims and to the Government and people of the United Kingdom."

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told the media he had yet to see footage of the incident but he was aware of what happened.

"The whole world, the whole free world is united in condemnation of that terrorist attack and terrorism generally. And in sympathy and love for the victims and their families. The heartbreaking loss of young Australians in London, Baghdad, and just this week in Melbourne to these murderous terrorists. Everybody, everyone should be united in condemnation with the terrorists and love and sympathy and respect for the victims and their families," Turnbull said.

The Socceroos won the match against the Saudis 3-2.

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