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Australia team speak out after Saudi Arabia snubbed minute’s silence for London

Date Posted,June 8, 2017

The Australia football team and the country’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull have spoken out about Saudi Arabia snubbing the minute’s silence for the London terror attack victims.

Turnbull responded to the incident, which occurred before their World Cup qualifier in Adelaide on Thursday, calling for “everyone to be united in condemnation of the terrorists.”

While defender Ryan McGowan added that his side didn’t “have any control over” the actions of the opposition, but said he was determined Australia would observe the minute’s silence properly.

The Australia football team observe the minute’s silence on Thursday (Photo: Getty Images AsiaPac)

Australia lined up arm in arm before the match after last week’s terror attack, which saw eight people killed, including two Australians.

The Saudi team lined up in a random order across the pitch with the substitutes and coaching staff failing to rise off the bench.

Responding to the incident, the Australia PM said: “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.

Malcolm Turnbull called for “everyone to be united in condemnation of the terrorists” (Photo: Getty Images AsiaPac)

“The heartbreaking, heartbreaking loss of young Australians, in London, of course in Baghdad and just this week in Melbourne to these murderous terrorists.

“Everybody, everyone should be united in condemnation of the terrorists and love and sympathy and respect for the victims and their families, thanks very much.”

Hertha BSC star Mathew Leckie added: “Obviously we saw what was going on but like Gowza (Ryan McGowan) said, really just trying to concentrate on that minute to show our respect and for us it was important and what they did was, we were more focused on that.”

Mathew Leckie and Ryan McGowan have spoken out about the incident (Photo: REUTERS)

Saudi Arabia’s Football Federation issued an apology following the incident on Thursday, saying it “deeply regrets and unreservedly apologises for any offence caused.”

The statement added: “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 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.”

Leckie said Australia were only focusing on respecting the minute’s silence (Photo: AFP)

Australian football chiefs have since attempted to defuse the growing outrage.

In a statement, the Football Federation Australia explained: “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 bombings in London and in particular the two Australian women,” a spokesman said.

“Both the AFC and the Saudi team agreed that the minute of silence could be held.

Saudi Arabia’s Football Federation have since issued an apology following the incident (Photo: Getty Images AsiaPac)

“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.

“The local broadcaster, Fox Sports, was informed of this prior to the minute’s silence taking place.”

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