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Saturday, 10 June 2017

The Saudi Football team has apologised after its national team did not properly observe a minute's silence for the victims of the London attacks



Saudis apologise over minute's silence snub for London victims

image: http://www.thestar.com.my/~/media/online/2017/06/09/04/10/20170609t003119z_1_lynxmped5800l_rtroptp_4_soccerworldcupaussau.ashx/?w=620&h=413&crop=1&hash=9EBE7FDB12D3D4194D43A18624450F68A0C62BED
SYDNEY (Reuters) - The Saudi Arabian Football Federation has apologised after its national team did not properly observe a minute's silence for the victims of the London attacks before the start of a World Cup qualifier in Australia.

The Australia team lined up in the centre circle ahead of the match at Adelaide Oval late on Thursday but all bar one of the Saudi players, although silent, dispersed around the pitch and continued to jog and stretch.
Eight people were killed and 50 injured after three Islamist militants drove into pedestrians on London Bridge last Saturday, then attacked revellers nearby with knives. Two of the dead were Australian.
Football Federation Australia (FFA) said it had "sought agreement" from the Saudis and regional governing body, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), to hold the minute's silence.
"Both the AFC and the Saudi team agreed that the minute of silence could be held," a spokesman said.
"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 governing body of Saudi football later issued a statement saying it "deeply" regretted and "unreservedly" apologised for their players not "formally" observing the minute's silence.
"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," it added.
"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."
The AFC said it had monitored the incident, as well as "various statements", but that any disciplinary action against the Saudis would have to come from world governing body FIFA, who have jurisdiction over all World Cup qualifiers.
The incident prompted a social media storm and comes at a time when Australians are still mourning victims of recent attacks.
In addition to the Australians who died in London, a deadly siege in Melbourne on Tuesday that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called "an act of terrorism" claimed one victim, while an Australian schoolgirl was one of more than a dozen killed in a Baghdad car bomb blast last week.

Read more at http://www.thestar.com.my/sport/football/2017/06/09/saudis-apologise-over-minutes-silence-snub-for-london-victims/#HDkPBA4QdR7gJg8O.99

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