The young Thai football team trapped in a Chiang Rai cave has been invited to attend the 15 July final of the world cup in Russia, by FIFA president Gianni Infantino.
Stars sending messages of support to young footballers
In a letter to the head of the Football Association of Thailand, Infantino wrote: “If, as we all hope, they are reunited with their families in the coming days and their health allows them to travel, FIFA would be delighted to invite them to attend the 2018 World Cup final in Moscow as our guests.
“I sincerely hope that they will be able to join us at the final, which will undoubtedly be a wonderful moment of communion and celebration.”
The 12 boys – aged 11 to 16 – of the Wild Boars team and their 25-year-old coach have been trapped inside Tham Luang Cave in Thailand’s northernmost province of Chiang Rai since 23 June when they were cut off by rising floodwaters.
A massive search and rescue operation located the group earlier this week and efforts have since focused on bringing them out safely.
The invitation from soccer’s governing body comes alongside messages of support that have been pouring in for the young footballers and their coach.
Brazilian legend Ronaldo, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and England player John Stones are among those in the global soccer fraternity who have sent messages of support.
Japan’s world cup squad tweeted a video urging the team to “Hang in there!”, while the Croatian Football Federation on its website, along with the Croatia national side, carried a message of hope and support for them, saying “We are awed by the bravery and strength that these young boys and their coach have shown amidst such frightening circumstances. These are situations that are bigger than sports, but their sporting competitiveness will help them cope with the current challenge.”
Photo: Croatian Football Federation