Saudi Arabian soccer players challenging Australia’s team in a World Cup qualifier drew criticism on Wednesday after they failed to acknowledge a moment of silence honoring two Australian victims of the recent attacks in London.
The Australian players locked arms and stood in a line, remembering their fallen countrymen, while the Saudis stretched, walked, and passed balls to each other. Many in the crowd booed, and the players have been widely criticized for the decision.
According to the Daily Mail (I know… but keep reading), it was “the ultimate disgrace.”
The Saudi Arabian soccer team chose to tie their shoelaces, stretch and casually pass balls instead of lining up for a minute’s silence for the London terror victims.
Soccer fans across the globe were outraged after the Saudi national team refused to pay their respects in a World Cup qualifier against Australia in Adelaide on Thursday.
A spokesman for Football Federation Australia explained they were told a minute of silence was ‘not in keeping with Saudi culture’ ahead of the match.
So, Saudi Arabia said the minute of silence was not aligned with the country’s culture somehow. But it has also been pointed out that Saudi teams have observed similar moments of silence in the past.
The Saudi Arabian Football Federation said it “regrets and unreservedly apologizes” for any offense caused.
Some users claimed that observing silences ahead of football matches was not a part of Saudi culture. But Saudi players and teams have previously observed such tributes, and Saudi side Al-Ahli Saudi FC paused for a minute of silence ahead of their Qatar Airways Cup match against Barcelona in December 2016.
The players did not intend any disrespect to the memories of the victims nor 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
So, was this a cultural difference leading to a miscommunication? Or something much more sinister, as some allege?
Saudi Arabian team refused to acknowledge a minute silence for London terror attack victims during a match in Australia. Extremists?
— iam_emekabambam (@sambambam091) June 9, 2017
Honestly, I’m not sure. I do believe the Saudi football federation, which said it regrets and apologizes. I take them at their word that they condemn “all acts of terrorism,” but I hope they do a better job of showing it in the future.
(Screenshot via YouTube)