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Did Saudi Arabia Ignore A Minute's Silence Against Australia?

Did Saudi Arabia Ignore A Minute's Silence Against Australia?
By Gavin O'Callaghan
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Today’s World Cup qualifier game between Australia and Saudi Arabia made World Headlines for the wrong reasons as it appeared that the Saudi team did not observe a minute's silence organised by the Australian FA in honour of two of their citizens who were killed in the London attacks.

Due to the state of world affairs these days twitter and media outlets are awash with the story and the moment’s bigger implications and it seems that rumours are already beginning to fly, although the truth still doesn’t reflect too well on the Saudi Arabians.

After the silence the game began and Celtic’s Tom Rogic scored an absolute belter of a winning goal to put the Aussies in a competitive position with two games to go, but let’s try and at the defining questions on the minute's silence preceding the match.

Did they refuse, or were they uninformed?

A Spokesperson for the Football Federation of Australia said that they were told the silence was "not in keeping with Saudi Culture" and they were advised before the game that their opposition would not be participating.

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

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


Did the players on the bench stand or sit and did the players continue warming up as some outlets are saying?


The team did not continue warming up but just stood still in their positions according to Fox Sport Australia’s Adam Peacock, but their captain Osama Hawsawi continued to jog on the spot and jump around.

According to the Daily Mail the players on the bench did not stand.


Is it not Saudi custom to observe a minute silence?

It’s not regular, but it has been done by other Gulf Nations on a number of occasions including honouring the late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia

A domestic Saudi side also observed a minutes silence against Barcelona last December.


Were Saudi fans at the game booing?

No, there are some tweets and reports about fans failing to stay quiet but many of them say it seemed unintentional or that fans were unfamiliar with the custom.

If you watch the video some lone shouts can be heard from the crowd but overall there was no booing, and it’s not clear what nationality the little noise did come from. When the referee blew for the end of the silence it was largely met with applause.

Watch: Tom Rogic Thunderbolt Puts Australia Back In World Cup Contention

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