FIFA Invites Thai Junior Soccer Team To World Cup Final If Rescued In Time
FIFA President Gianni Infantino expressed his sympathies and support on behalf of the international soccer community.
FIFA has invited the Thai junior soccer team trapped inside a flooded cave to the World Cup final in Russia -- if they escape in time and are in good health to travel.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino wrote to the president of the Football Association of Thailand, Somyot Poompanmoung, expressing his deepest sympathies and support to the Wild Boar soccer team and their coach on behalf of the international football community.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the families and communities and we hope that they will soon be embracing their loved ones and restoring their strength and confidence.
"We hope that, in some way, our words of support may help bring them a little peace and courage in these difficult moments of uncertainty and concern."
He invited all of those trapped to attend the 2018 World Cup final in Moscow as FIFA's guests, "if, as we all hope, they are reunited with their families in the coming days and their health allows them to travel".
It would be "a wonderful moment of communion and celebration," he said.
The final is due to take place in a little over a week, on Sunday July 14.
A massive international rescue effort is racing against the clock to free the Wild Boar soccer team and their coach, who have been trapped in the flooded caves in
The Wild Boar soccer team have been trapped in the flooded caves in Chiang Rai since June 24, almost two weeks ago.
Sadly, one of their rescuers, a 38-year-old former Navy SEAL by the name of Saman Kunan, died on Friday after running out of oxygen while diving the treacherous cave network.
"His job was to deliver oxygen. He did not have enough on the way back," Chiang Rai Deputy Governor Passakorn Boonaluck told reporters on Friday.
Volunteer diver Rafael Aroush told Ten Eyewitness News that it threw into sharp relief the dangers of attempting to dive the trapped boys -- many of whom can't swim -- out to safety.
"It's just telling us how dangerous and how complicated the rescue mission is," he said.
Rescuers had been concerned about oxygen levels falling, installing an oxygen line inside the cave.
In a rare piece of good news, as of Friday morning, oxygen levels appear to be okay.
However, it is still a race against the clock, with monsoon rains coming that threaten to flood the caves all over again, possibly trapping the team for months.