Saudis snub minute's silence for terror attack victims

Sporting News

Saudi Arabia did not take part in the minute of silence for victims of the most recent London terror attack before the Saudis' match against Australia because it was "not in keeping with Saudi culture".

Australia defeated the Saudis, 3-2, in a thrilling World Cup qualifying match Thursday in Adelaide.

But there was confusion before kick-off when a silence to honor the eight victims of last Saturday's attack at London Bridge and Borough Market — two of whom were Australian — took place.

While Australia's players locked arms in the center circle in the traditional way, the Saudi team did not follow suit.

Instead, they took to their positions in their half of the field. Some Saudi players remained still while the minute's silence took place, while others continued warming up and reports at the ground claimed their bench failed to stand.

Football Federation Australia released a statement after the match to clarify what happened as the controversy surrounding the story grew.

Image: Getty

The FFA revealed that the Saudis had agreed that the minute of silence could be held but that, because the tradition was not in keeping with their culture, they would not actively participate.

"The FFA sought agreement from the Asian Football Confederation and the Saudi national team to hold a minute's silence in memory of those lost in Saturday night's terror attacks in London and in particular the two Australian women," the FFA said. "Both the AFC and the Saudi team agreed that the minute of silence could be held.

"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."