Saudi apology after players appear to refuse minute's silence for London victims


The Saudi Arabian Football Federation has apologised after Australian politicians joined condemnation of the team's failure to observe a minute's silence for the victims of last week's London terror attack.

As the Socceroos linked arms in the centre of Adelaide Oval before their World Cup qualifier on Thursday night, Saudi players milled about in their half of the field.

Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese and independent senator Derry Hinch on Friday morning labelled the Saudis' behaviour a "disgrace".

Saudi football's governing body says it "unreservedly apologises for any offence caused" by some members of its team.

"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," the federation 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."

Mr Albanese told the Nine Network it was a "disgraceful lack of respect" for the two Australians killed and all victims of the London terror attack.

"There is no excuse here. This isn't about culture, this is about a lack of respect. I thought it was disgraceful," he said.

The Socceroos speak out about minute silence


Senator Hinch suggested the Saudi players may have worn black armbands if it was "the birthday of a 9/11 terrorist".

"It is an insult," he told the Seven Network.

"Saudi Arabia, that's where the terrorists came from for 9/11. Now that Donald Trump has done, a multibillion-dollar arms deal with that country, it is a disgrace and what they did last night should not be forgotten."

When Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was asked by reporters in Hobart about the incident, he said he hadn't seen the video but it had been raised with him.

"The whole world, the whole free world is united in condemnation of that terrorist attack and terrorism generally," he said, without directly criticising the Saudi players.

"Everybody, everyone should be united in condemnation with the terrorists and love, and sympathy and respect for the victims and their families."

Australia ended up winning the match 3-2, leaving it and Saudi Arabia tied with 16 points in their qualifying group.

Japan also has 16 points but has a game in hand.

Tomi Juric scored two goals and Tom Rogic added the third for Australia in Adelaide.

"The three points are important when you see how close the group is," Australia coach Ange Postecoglou said.

"I thought our second 45 (minutes) was outstanding."


Source AAP

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