Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Football

Saudi Arabia's football team fails to join Australia in minute's silence for London terror victims before kick-off

The Saudi Arabia football team appeared not to observe a minute's silence for the victims of the London Bridge terror attack ahead of their match against Australia

Saudi Arabia's national football team has been criticised for appearing not to observe a minute’s silence for the victims of the London Bridge terror attack.

Australian supporters were left outraged ahead of the Fifa World Cup Asian Qualifying match between the two countries, when the Saudi Arabian players appeared to ignore the silence.

Images from the match show the Australian team lined up in the middle of the pitch, with the Saudi players choosing to finish their pre-match warm-up instead.

It has been claimed that the Saudi substitutes also decided not to join in with the silence, while the Australian media report that the travelling supporters did not fall quiet for the tribute.

The Australian crowd loudly booed the Saudi team after the minute's silence finished.

The Saudi team was immediately criticised on social media, with bewildered supporters calling on Fifa to take action on the national team.

"I hope Fifa call out Saudi Arabia on the clear lack of respect shown prior to kick-off," wrote one user. "Not participating in the minute's silence is disgusting."

Another fan wrote: "Minute's silence for London terror [victims], Saudi players wandering around like they don't give a f***. Saudi fans shouting the whole time."

Read more

Jeremy Corbyn calls for 'difficult conversations' with Saudi Arabia and Gulf states over extremism funding

Terror funding report: Calls grow for release of 'sensitive' Home Office document 'pointing finger at Saudi Arabia' 

Some users claimed that observing silences ahead of football matches was not a part of Saudi culture. However, Saudi side Al-Ahli Saudi FC observed a minute of silence ahead of their Qatar Airways Cup match against Barcelona last year.

It is possible the Saudi FA were not made aware of the planned moment of silence ahead of kick-off. However, as a World Cup qualification match, the tribute would have been cleared by Fifa well in advance of the fixture.

The match was held at the Adelaide Oval with a minute of silence to commemorate the eight victims of the London Bridge terror attack. Two Australian citizens were killed in the attack.

Read more

Nanny Sara Zelenak, 21, was confirmed dead on Wednesday while nurse Kristy Boden was also killed in the attack, after running to help other victims.

Australia went on to win the Group B qualification match 3-2.

Independent News Service

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph