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Thursday, Apr 25, 2024

HK ice hockey body faces serious action if liable for anthem blunder

HK ice hockey body faces serious action if liable for anthem blunder

"Strict" measures will be taken if the Hong Kong ice hockey association is found at fault for the latest national anthem blunder at the Ice Hockey World Championship in Sarajevo, Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism Kevin Yeung Yun-hung warned.
The Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong in a statement last week accused the Hong Kong Ice Hockey Association of failing to explain when and where the right anthem was provided to tournament organizers in a preliminary report.

A song linked to the 2019 anti-extradition protests was played in place of the national anthem at the Ice Hockey World Championship on February 28.

The committee said HKIHA was being "evasive" for failing to address questions in its report.

"It is therefore strongly believed that HKIHA did not perform the duty in accordance with the guidelines," the statement read.

The committee quoted the association's report as saying that the local team had asked the organizer to verify that it had the correct anthem on hand, but did not follow up on the matter after the organizer ignored the request.

The association later learned that one of the organizer's staff had mistakenly downloaded the wrong song from the internet.

The committee said the association failed to hold a briefing on how to respond when the wrong anthem is played. They had only informed the athletes via WhatsApp text messages.

Authorities and the SF&OC will consider implementing "possible and appropriate sanctions" against the hockey association, it stated.

Speaking ahead of his departure to attend the closing ceremony of the National People's Congress in Beijing, Yeung said the SF&OC will be responsible for compiling a final incident report.

"It's unacceptable that the wrong song has been played in place of the national anthem so many times at different occasions," he said, adding that the committee had issued a set of guidelines.

Sports associations that are found guilty may face potential suspension of SF&OC membership or suspension of government funding and the authorities would deal with the matter strictly, Yeung explained.

Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said the blunder was unacceptable as the national anthem represents the dignity of the country and its people, reiterating that such blunders were mostly caused by inaccurate search results on Google. He said: "As a large organization, there must be a moral and legal responsibility to protect the national anthem."
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