The group of 12 young footballers trapped in a flooded Thai cave have been invited to the World Cup Final.
Football governing body FIFA sent a letter to the president of the Football Association of Thailand offering its “deepest sympathies and support” to the families of 12 young players and their coach, who are trapped in a cave in the country’s north.
The letter, signed by Fifa president Gianni Infantino, also said the organisation would like to invite the youngsters and their coach to the World Cup final in Russia if they are rescued in time and healthy enough to travel.
The team’s appearance at the final would “undoubtedly be a wonderful moment of communion and celebration”, the letter said.
The boys, who got trapped on June 23 when flash floods cut them off, have reportedly asked Thai Navy SEALs taking care of them for updates on the World Cup.
One of the group of 12 appeared to be wearing an England shirt in video footage released by rescuers.
The invitation comes as rescue attempts continue, with efforts to pump water out of the caves so the group can escape without having to carry out a risk dive with no experience.
A Thai navy diver, named as Petty Office Saman Gunan, lost his life during an overnight mission to place oxygen canisters in the cave complex after running out of Oxygen.