July 10, 2018 / 4:24 PM / 2 months ago

Rescued Thai soccer team will not make World Cup final: FIFA

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Twelve Thai boys and their coach who were rescued from a flooded cave will not attend the World Cup final in Moscow on Sunday for medical reasons, world soccer’s governing body FIFA said on Tuesday.

Police stand guard near a road leading to the Tham Luang cave complex in the northern province of Chiang Rai, Thailand, July 10, 2018. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

FIFA invited the team to attend after a massive rescue operation freed the last four of boys and their soccer coach from the cave on Tuesday, ending a perilous mission that gripped the world for more than two weeks.

The “Wild Boars” soccer team, aged between 11 and 16, and their 25-year-old coach became trapped on June 23 while exploring the cave complex in the northern province of Chiang Rai when a rainy season downpour flooded the tunnels.

“We have been informed by the Football Association of Thailand that due to medical reasons, the boys will not be in a position to travel to Moscow for the FIFA World Cup final,” FIFA said.

“FIFA’s priority remains the health of everyone involved in the operation and we will look into finding a new opportunity to invite the boys to a FIFA event to share with them a moment of communion and celebration.”

FIFA said a meeting with the Thai FA would take place in Moscow around the World Cup final on Sunday.

Reporting by Brian Homewood; Writing by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg

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