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.
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