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The Saudi Football Team Refused To Take Part In A Minute's Silence For London Victims

The team said the minute's silence was not in keeping with Saudi culture.

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The Saudi Arabia national football team has been labeled "disgraceful" after it refused to take part in a minute's silence for the victims of the recent terror attacks in England.

Wow just saw this... not sure what to think of it. Saudi players skipped the minute silence for #LondonAttacks… https://t.co/Pt9hmNkbBN

Shortly before the team's World Cup qualifier match against Australia on Thursday evening at the Adelaide Oval, the stadium announcer called for a minute's silence. The Australian national team linked arms at the halfway line, only for the Saudis to walk around separately in their own half.

A statement released by Football Federation Australia after the game said Saudi officials had agreed to let the minute's silence go ahead, but also said that the tradition was "not in keeping with Saudi culture".

Pre game minute silence: AFC approved it pre game. Travelling Saudi officials said no. FFA tried to reason, no avail and went ahead.

“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," said the statement.

Labor senator Anthony Albonese called the scenes a "disgraceful lack of respect" on the Today show on Friday morning.

"That was a disgraceful lack of respect not just for the two Australians killed, one of whom was a young South Australians, all of those victims of that terror attack in London," he said.

"There is no excuse here. This isn't about culture, this is about a lack of respect. I thought it was disgraceful."

The incident caused a huge reaction on social media.

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This says a lot. Australia-Saudi WorldCup qualifier. Australian team observes minute of silence for victims of… https://t.co/DSQe3E2qL2

Saudi football team doesn't observe minute's silence in honour of London terrorist attack victims. Australian team… https://t.co/RsWB1Z3dL1

Saudis taking positions during the minute silence. Fuck off.

However, there was also reaction from Saudi fans, who said there had never been a minute silence for terror attacks in the Middle East.

@TeleFootball Why we did not see a minute silence for Syria , Iraq or Palestine, they are people as well !!

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@EPLBible Probably because they dont get a minute silence for all the attacks in the middle east?...

@8Fact_Footballl how many times did u fail to line-up for a minute silence for Syria childrens and Africa starvation victims !?

@MailOnline If ppl lined up for a minute's silence for every terrorist attack that was caused by war on Iraq they w… https://t.co/0ovHmDX9Wl

The Saudi Arabian Football Federation has reportedly apologised for “any offence caused” by the decision not to partake in the tribute.

“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,” a statement read.

“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.

The Socceroos ended up winning the match 3-2, after a sublime strike from Celtic player Tom Rogic in the 63rd minute.

Tom Rogic just scored this goal for the @Socceroos 😍.

Later in the day, Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull said "everybody, everyone, should be united in condemnation of the terrorists" responsible for attacks in London, Baghdad, and Melbourne respectively.

.@TurnbullMalcolm weighs in on Saudi Arabia's "snub" of the minute's silence for the London terror attack at… https://t.co/j1YWPFH5eP

"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," he said.

Brad Esposito is a news reporter for BuzzFeed and is based in Sydney, Australia.

Contact Brad Esposito at bradley.esposito@buzzfeed.com.

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