Saudi Arabia’s Football Federation on Friday apologised after its players failed to honour a minute’s silence for the victims of London terror attack before the kickoff of World Cup qualifier at Adelaide in Australia, reported AFP. Two Australians were among the eight who were killed after three attackers mowed down people near the London bridge in a van, it was followed by a stabbing attack at nearby Borough Market.
Before the match on Thursday, while the Australian soccer team observed the silent tribute in honour of the victims of the attack, the Saudi players continued to jog on the field and passed the ball to each others. Only one Saudi player, Salman al-Faraj, stood facing the Australian team, with his hands behind his back, reported The Guardian.
“The Saudi Arabian Football Federation deeply regrets and unreservedly apologises for any offence caused by the failure to formally observe the one minute’s silence,” Adil Ezzat, federation president said in a statement. “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 Football Federation further said that it condemned all acts of terrorism and extremism and offered condolences to the families of all the victims.
The Saudi team officials had earlier notified the Football Federation Australia that since the “tradition was not in keeping with Saudi culture”, their players would continue to take their positions, the federation’s spokesperson said, according to 9news.com.au.
The Australian Socceroos won the match 3-2 on Thursday night to secure their place in next year’s World Cup finals in Russia.
“Everyone should be united in condemnation of the terrorists and love and sympathy and respect for the victims and their families,” Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said according to AFP.