Sports official calls for strong response over anthem ‘mistake’

A local sports official on Wednesday said he found it hard to believe the explanation provided by the Asia Rugby union over the national anthem blunder in South Korea's Asia Rugby Sevens, also calling for a strong response from Hong Kong authorities.

The Asia Rugby unions confirmed yesterday that an intern made an unintentional error with no ulterior motives when a protest anthem was played in place of the Chinese national anthem at the Asian Sevens Series in Incheon on Sunday.

It also admitted the Asian union did not send the Korea Rugby Union an audio file for Sunday's tournament but claimed the Korean union should already have a copy of the audio file of China's national anthem, March of the Volunteers, as the Hong Kong team played in South Korea in July.

Speaking on a radio program this morning, Ronnie Wong Man-chiu, honorary secretary general of the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, said he found it hard to believe and would not accept the explanation from the Asia union.

He said playing of the national anthem should be a serious matter and should be verified by official representatives in international competitions.

He said the Asia union is responsible for overseeing the tournament, same as the Korea union.

Wong also questioned if the Korea union really allowed an intern to handle such a serious matter concerning the playing of national anthems, saying he found it unreasonable.

He said South Korea should review its ability to host major tournaments while Hong Kong should have a strong response to the incident - requesting World Rugby to suspend the country from hosting tournaments or withdraw the Hong Kong team from future games as a form of protest.