GLASGOW: Scotland’s unhappy relationship with the Olympic football tournament was exacerbated tonight when the women’s match between North Korea and Colombia was delayed . . . because the wrong Korean flag was flashed up on the giant screens writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Incredibly, Hampden officials screened the South Korean flag in the stadium video package as the teams emerged. That infuriated North Korean officials and prompted the instant standstill. The match eventually kicked off, an hour late.
Any sports organisation in charge of a match featuring either of the Koreas – who have never signed a peace treaty after the 1950s war – knows that the priority is always to ensure absolutely no confusion over national flags and anthems.
A statement from Games organiser LOCOG said: “Today ahead of the women’s football match at Hampden Park, the South Korean flag was shown on a big screen video package instead of the North Korean flag. Clearly this is a mistake, we will apologise to the team and the national Olympic committee and steps will be taken to ensure this does not happen again.”
Proof of that assurance will come on Saturday when the North Koreans women return to Hampden to play France.
Hampden has always been a controversial venue for the 2012 football after its owner, the Scottish Football Association, insisted that – even though it was hosting matches – it wanted nothing to do with the Team GB creation.
Ticket sales were also among the slowest at all the football venues – with the prospects of a late rush not enhanced when neither of the Team GB managers – Stuart Pearce for the men and Hope Powell for the women – selected Scottish players.
At least London 2012 table tennis officials will be on safe ground: in the men’s team competition South Korea will play North Korea in the first round so both flags can be used safely.
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