North Koreans walk off pitch after flag mix-up
London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) was left red faced as the North Korean women’s football team walked off the pitch before their game after the players were shown on the big screen next to a South Korean flag.
The mistake, which was missed during checks, is reported to be LOCOG’s not the Hampden Park media officials’, who made a full apology to the North Korean team.
The North Koreans however, did not make an appearance on the playing field until an hour later, once the video package had swapped the flags for North Korean ones.
Relations between the two countries have been hostile since the armistice that ended the Korean War in 1953.
A statement released by London 2012 organisers 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 that 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.”
Initially it was unclear who had made the mistake, but reports released tonight suggest that LOCOG produced the package.
Hampden Park media manager Andy Mitchell said: “The South Korean flag was shown in the video package on the screen before the kick-off and the North Koreans were naturally very upset about that.
“We have made a full apology to the team and the North Korean NOC. A genuine mistake was made for which we apologise.”
Dean Mears, Sports editor