GC Posted On: Jun 09, 2017

Saudi football chiefs have apologised after their national team elected not to take part in a minute’s silence for victims of the London Bridge attack.

Australian players linked arms as a sign of respect before Thursday’s World Cup qualifying match at Adelaide Oval.

Saudi players took up field positions and some continued to stretch.
Football officials said they had been told in advance that the “tradition was not in keeping
with Saudi culture”. An Australian MP called it “disgraceful”.

Eight people were killed and 48 injured on Saturday when three men drove into pedestrians on London Bridge, before abandoning the vehicle and stabbing people in the surrounding area.

Two Australians, Kirsty Boden and Sara Zelenak, were among the eight victims of the terror attack.

Australian football officials said the Saudi team had agreed a minute’s silence could be held.
But officials were “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,” a statement from Football Federation Australia said.

During the silence, as the Australian team lined up, Saudi players dispersed to take up their positions on the pitch. One player, number 7 Salman Al Faraj, appeared to stand still.

The Saudi Arabian Football Federation made an “unreserved” apology on Friday.


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