Saudi Arabia football chiefs apologise after players fail to observe London Bridge attack tribute

Joe Hall
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Australia v Saudi Arabia - 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier
Only one player appeared to observe the minute's silence (Source: Getty)

Saudi Arabia's football federation has apologised after its national team failed to observe a minute's silence in memory of the victims of Saturday's London Bridge terrorist attacks.

Ahead of a 2018 World Cup qualifier against Australia in Adelaide on Thursday, the vast majority of the Saudi players continued to warm up as the home side stood on the centre circle for the tribute.

Australia went on to win the match 3-2 to put them on course for qualification for next year's World Cup in Russia.

Read more: In pictures - life in the capital resumes in the wake of London Bridge attack

The Saudi players' actions drew strong condemnation, with leading politician for Australia's Labor party, Anthony Albanese, described it as "a disgraceful lack of respect" that "should not be forgotten".

Two Australians — Sara Zelenak and Kirsty Boden — were killed in the attack which left eight people dead.

In response, the Saudi Arabian Football Federation said it "deeply regrets and unreservedly apologises for any offence caused" but did not explain why its players did not participate.

"The players did not intend any disrespect to the memories of the victims or to cause upset to their families, friends or any individual connected affected by the atrocity," it 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 victims and to the Government and people of the United Kingdom."

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