Saudis regret snub of minute's silence

Lynette Rowe
June 10, 2017

The Saudi federation's statement a day later said: "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".

Nevertheless, several social media users voiced support for the Middle Eastern team, arguing that holding a minute's silence to show respect for the dead before sporting events was not part of Saudi Culture.

Saudi Arabia refused to take part in the moment of silence during their World Cup Qualifier against Australia.

After reviewing the referee's match report and images from the incident, Federation Internationale de Football Association issued the following statement: "We can confirm that there are no grounds to take disciplinary action".

Australia won the match 3-2. 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.

Australian football officials revealed that the Saudi team agreed to the proposal of a minute's silence prior to the game, but said that the players would move to the side to allow for others to observe the gesture.

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The stadium announcer called for a minute's silence, while Australian players on the field lined up at the center circle with their arms on their teammates' shoulders, the Saudi Arabian team ignored the tradition and took their positions on the pitch.

'They did not stop for a moment of silence because according to Wahhabi Islam - which governs Saudi Arabia - it is not wrong or a sin for a Muslim to kill a non-Muslim.

Prime Minister Turnbull said on Friday that he had not seen video of the incident but thought everybody should condemn "terrorism".

Senior Australian Labour politician Anthony Albanese described it as "a disgraceful lack of respect". "This isn't about culture, this is about a lack of respect", he told Channel 9.

"The whole world, the whole free world is united in condemnation of that terrorist attack and terrorism generally and in sympathy and love for the victims and their families", he said.

Tommy Rogic hit the victor to hand the Socceroos a 3-2 win, and put the team third in Group B, level on points with Saudi Arabia but with a slightly inferior goal difference. Japan also have 16 points but have a game in hand.

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