THE Saudi Arabian Football Federation has apologised for any offence caused by their players’ actions during a tribute to the London terror victims before the Socceroos’ World Cup qualifier.
Saudi Arabia’s players appeared to snub a minute’s silence dedicated to two Australians, Sara Zelenak and Kirsty Boden, who died in the recent London terror attacks.
The pre-game tribute was approved by the Asian Football Confederation after Football Federation Australia’s application.
Now, the Saudi Arabian Football Federation has released a statement on their 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 3 June 2017, prior to the World Cup Qualifying match against Australia in Adelaide,” the statement read on their website.
“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.”
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After the game, Football Federation Australia also released a statement.
“The FFA sought agreement from the Asian Football Confederation and the Saudi national team to hold a minute’s silence in memory of those lost in Saturday night’s terror in London and in particular the two Australian women,” the statement read.
“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.”
The Socceroos went on to win the game 3-2 and keep their hopes of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in their own hands.