What cost for a minute’s silence?
2017-06-15 12:37:06 -
Saudi Arabian soccer officials have apologised for the failure of their national team to observe a minute’s silence in honour of the victims of the 3 June terror attack at London Bridge.

Eight people were killed and several seriously injured when three men drove into pedestrians on the bridge in central London and stabbed passers by in nearby Borough Market, victims including Australians, British, French and Spanish nationals. The attackers were shot dead on the scene by police within minutes of the incident.

Nations across the world observed a minute’s silence for the victims at various events. But the World Cup qualifier in Adelaide between Australia and Saudi Arabia attracted controversy when all but one of the Saudi players ignored the hosts as they linked arms to pay their respects.

Describing the incident as “disgraceful”, an Australian politician said the Saudi contingent had told officials ahead of the game that the traditional silent tribute “was not in keeping with Saudi culture”.

In a statement following criticisms that followed, the Saudi Arabian Football Federation issued an “unreserved” 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 read.

However, Metro Éireann only has to look at a soccer match with Saudi players in the Qatari capital Doha last December, where players took part in a minute’s silence for the victims of the Chapecoense plane crash, to question any claims of such tributes being ‘not in keeping’ with their culture. One can only question why anyone would refuse to honour such a simple act of respect for the victims of terrorism.

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