The Saudi Arabia’s national football sparked outrage on 8 June by refusing to respect a minute’s silence. The silent tribute was for the London Bridge terror attack victims on 3 June.
The players were booed by the crowd for their actions ahead of a World Cup qualifier against Australia in Adelaide.
The Aussie side lined up together for the silence and most of the Saudi Arabians did not. They were scattered in their half of the pitch and appeared to ignore the tribute.
Only one player, No.7 Salman al Faraj, stood facing the centre circle with his hands behind his back.
The Australian football federation said the Saudis – who lost the match 3-2 – were told about the silence in advance. The Saudis said ‘this tradition was not in keeping with their culture’.
Two Australians – au pair Sara Zelenak, 21, and nurse Kirsty Boden, 28 – were among the 8 people killed.
Saudi Arabia has denied repeated accusations that it funds jihadist terror groups including al-Qaeda, the Taliban and Daesh.
Saudi Arabia’s Football Federation (SAFF) has issued an apology since the incident.
The statement claimed the SAFF “deeply regrets and unreservedly apologises for any offence caused”.
The statement read: “The players did not intend any disrespect to the memories of the victims”.
It read the players didn’t mean “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”.
Photo Credit: MONA LIZZA