London 2012

Flag blunder at Hampden

LOCOG apologises for showing South Korean flag

Last Updated: 26/07/12 10:29am

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A national flag blunder at Hampden Park caused North Korea to stage a protest at Wednesday's Olympic women's football match against Colombia.

The South Korean flag was shown by mistake on the big screen inside the stadium as the players warmed up on the pitch prior to the match.

As a consequence, North Korea refused to play the match at the scheduled 7.45pm start time.

Their players walked off the pitch but were persuaded to return when the teams were announced again with each player's face displayed next to the North Korean flag.

A statement from Games organisers 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."

However, the statement included another gaffe: It failed to refer to the countries by their official Olympic names, causing organizers to reissue the statement using "Republic of Korea" and "Democratic People's Republic of Korea."

The original flag mistake occurred when a video package was being shown ahead of kick-off, with the North Koreans noticing their faces were being pictured alongside the South Korean flag.

The match eventually began at 8.50pm after the team were placated.

South Korea and North Korea exist as neighbours but have a far from harmonious relationship.

The countries were formally established as separate entities in 1948, and the Korean War began in 1950.

Only two years ago, North Korean artillery shells killed four people, two from the military and two civilians, on Yeonpyeong Island in South Korea.

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