Moment of Silence for London Gets Awkward on Soccer Field

Saudi Arabia team declined to participate
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 8, 2017 5:04 PM CDT

(Newser) – When the stadium announcer called for a minute's silence to honor the victims of last weekend's London attack, the 11 Australian players on the field lined up at the center circle with arms on their teammates' shoulders. Their opponents from Saudi Arabia, however, milled about separately on the other side, seemingly ignoring the gesture. The Australian soccer federation, known as FFA, said after the match that the Saudis knew about the plan to hold a minute's silence before Thursday's World Cup qualifying match but declined to participate, the AP reports.

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"Both the (Asian Football Confederation) and the Saudi team agreed that the minute of silence could be held," the Australian federation said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. "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." Two Australians were among the eight people killed in Saturday's attack. (Read more London terror attack stories.)

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