The Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) apologised for not observing a minute’s silence for victims of the London terror attack right before the kick-off of the World Cup qualifier clash with Australia.
After drawing huge criticisms for not participating in a minute’s silence, the SAFF have apologised for the team’s actions.
“The Saudi Arabian Football Federation deeply regrets and unreservedly apologises for any offence caused by the failure of some members of the representative team of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to formally observe the one minute’s silence in memory of the victims of the London terrorist attack on June 3 2017, prior to the World Cup qualifying match against Australia in Adelaide,” the SAFF statement read.
“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
“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.”
Right before the kick-off of the World Cup qualifier clash between Australia and Saudi Arabia, both the teams were meant to maintain a minute’s silence at the centre of the pitch as a tribute to the victims of the recent terror attack in London.
Eight people – including two Australians lost their lives during the terror attack on London Bridge at the Borough Market area on 3rd June.
While the Australian team assembled to observe a minute’s silence, the Saudi Arabain national side refused to do so and carried on setting up their formation for the World Cup qualifier clash.
Others present in the visiting team’s bench also remain seated and refused to observe a minute’s silence.
This did not go down well with the home supporters at the Adelaide Oval and they were left outraged by the incident as Britain and Australia share a close bond.
There was a minute’s silence for London terror attack victims. Socceroos players lined up on halfway, Saudi players went to their positions
— crowdiegal (@crowdiegal) June 8, 2017
Their failure to observe a minute’s silence was heavily criticised by the footballing world and Football Federation Australia released a statement explaining it had been advised by opposition officials that they would not take part as the tradition was “not in keeping with Saudi culture”.
In a five-goal thriller, Australia outplayed Saudi Arabia 3-2, all thanks to Celtic’s Tom Rogic, who scored the winner.
And now Japan, Australia and Saudi Arabia are all on 16 points in their qualifying group – and are separated only on goal difference.