‘Disgraceful’ Says Australian PM
The Saudi Arabia national football team, has been branded ‘disgraceful’ by Australian PM, for failing to take part in the minute of silence for the two Australian casualties of the London terror attack last Saturday.
The Socceroos lined up in the centre of the pitch before the World Cup qualifier and held the brief silence as a tribute to the two Australians killed in the terrorist attack in London at the weekend. As they were showing their respect, the Saudi team carried on passing the ball, jogging and taking their positions on the pitch.
Adam Peacock, a presenter with Fox Sports Australia, said on twitter the minute of silence had been approved by the Asian Football Confederation, even though travelling Saudi Arabian officials had not consented to the proposal.
Pre game minute silence:
AFC approved it pre game.
Travelling Saudi officials said no.
FFA tried to reason, no avail and went ahead.
— Adam Peacock (@adampeacock3) June 8, 2017
Sara Zelenak, 21, from Brisbane and the South Australian Kirsty Boden, 28, were killed in Saturday night’s terrorist attack. Two other Australians were stabbed in the neck in the attack, which has been claimed by the terrorist group Islamic State.
The decision for the Saudi team not taking part received swift criticism on twitter.
Would’ve been nicer if our opposition showed some respect & lined up on the centre circle during the minute’s silence. Not hard. #AUSvKSA
— Anthony Siokos (@AnthonySiokos) June 8, 2017
However, some are defending the actions of the Saudi team, claiming that the minute’s silence was not a recognised way to show respect and condolences in the country’s culture or in Islam more broadly.
It’s misunderstood, even if the victims were in Riyadh or Dubai, They will not stand for a minute’s of silence
— أبو حمد (@2aziz_) June 8, 2017
Although, others were also quick to note that Gulf countries have taken part in a minute of silence before, including to mark the death of former Saudi King Abdullah.
1st match of the Silver Cup Zedan v UAE paying a respectful minute of silence for late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia pic.twitter.com/NhObtDAggJ
— PoloLine (@Pololine) January 23, 2015
— Times of Oman (@timesofoman) January 23, 2015
The Saudi Arabian Football Federation has since issued an apology.
“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 said in a statement.
“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.”