HK failed to submit national anthems to play, says Korea Rugby Union

The Korea Rugby Union apologized for playing the Hong Kong pro-democracy protest anthem during the Asia Rugby Seven men's final round between Hong Kong and Korea. The Union said they had asked each team to submit national anthems to play during the matches but "failed to get one" from the Hong Kong team.

In response to the Korea Rugby Union, the Hong Kong Rugby Union (HKRU) issued a statement on Tuesday to clarify that the Asia Rugby competition management team on October 23 have “confirmed directly with the Hong Kong team management that The March of the Volunteers was the correct anthem to be played” during the ensuing competition.

HKRU added that the national anthem was played at the series event in Thailand at the end of October and was expected to be played at every cup final that defending champions Hong Kong may reach in the series.

“At no point were HKRU or Series organizers Asia Rugby informed that Korea Rugby Union intended to play anthems it had sourced on its own via the internet, or any other unauthorized versions of the national anthem other than that as confirmed by the HKRU to Asia Rugby,” the statement said. “Future errors of this type shall necessitate the team’s immediate withdrawal from competition.”

The Korea Rugby Union apologized for playing "Glory to Hong Kong" instead of the Chinese national anthem during the game held in Incheon on Sunday.

A public relations representative from the Korean organization told The Korea Times that "We ask each country to submit national anthems to play, but failed to get one (from the Hong Kong team)." He added that "our staff saved 'the Hong Kong national anthem' listed on the top of a search engine in the file folder named, 'Hong Kong.'"

The person continued that Asia Rugby later informed the Korea Rugby Union that the organization should play China's national anthem for the Hong Kong team but failed to delete the mistakenly saved file and delivered it to the broadcasting team. The official added that a staff member of the broadcasting team played the song in the file when Hong Kong made it to the final.

Also, the person said that the organizer then played the Chinese national anthem for the Hong Kong team during the award ceremony after Hong Kong won the final.

The remarks of the Korea Rugby Union contradict those of the Hong Kong government.

The SAR government said the Hong Kong team had submitted the anthem file to the local operator, and chastised Asia Rugby about what happened and asked for an "in-depth investigation."

In a Monday press release titled, "HKSAR Government strongly deplores and opposes playing of the wrong national anthem at the Asian Rugby Seven Series," the release said, "Rugby Asia also confirmed that the recording of the National Anthem submitted by the coach of the Hong Kong Team was the correct one."