Why did World Cup organizers send a written apology to the Saudi team?

The soccer team landed safely after one of the engines on the plane appeared to catch fire. (Supplied)

The Saudi Football Federation on Tuesday received a written apology from the organizing committee of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The apology addressed “the conditions that accompanied the landing of the plane that flew the Saudi team from St Petersburg on Saturday to Rostov in preparation for Uruguay on Wednesday,” a Saudi Press Agency statement said.

The soccer team landed safely after one of the engines on the plane appeared to catch fire.

“The Organizing Committee confirmed in a letter to the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Saudi Football Federation Dr. Adel Ezzat removal of the aircraft from transporting the Saudi team and all the teams participating in the tournament.

“In its letter, the local organizing committee attached a statement from the Civil Aviation Organization of Russia confirming that what happened was only seeing flames on the right wing on landing. The situation did not necessitate an emergency landing on time. The plane landed normally because the aircraft engines were operating at landing, and taxied on the runway normally until the mission's left it.

“The Organizing Committee reported that investigations would be completed with all relevant parties,” the statement added.

As it came in to land, the plane “suffered a technical fault with one of its engines, with a bird getting caught seen as the preliminary cause,” a Rossiya airlines spokesman said.

A spokesman for airline Rossiya said the fault that developed was due to a bird strike. The team were travelling on a Rossiya Airbus A319 from St Petersburg to Rostov-on-Don, where they are due to play their second Group A match against Uruguay on Wednesday.

Videos shared on social media showed an aircraft that posters identified as the Saudi team’s plane with its wing on fire while it was in the air.

The footage was shared by civil aviation monitoring website Airlive.net, which said the fire broke out on the approach to Rostov airport.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:51 - GMT 06:51