Hong Kong athletes should make a “T” sign with their hands if they notice anything amiss when the Chinese national anthem and the city’s flag are used at international sporting events under a new set of sector-wide guidelines.
The Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong issued the protocols on Tuesday as Asia Rugby’s president Qais Abdulla al-Dhalai flew from Dubai to offer an apology to No 2 official Eric Chan Kwok-ki after a protest song was played instead of “March of the Volunteers” during a game in South Korea last week.
“[The president] totally agreed that the national anthem is the symbol and sign of a nation and must be respected on all occasions, hence his apology extended in person to the government and people of [Hong Kong], and undertook to ensure no similar mistake will happen again,” the government read.
Ronnie Wong Man-chiu, the committee’s honorary secretary general, told the Post the leader could be any senior member of the team and not necessarily one of the athletes.
The Hong Kong Rugby Union said it welcomed the new guidelines and would incorporate them as part of the team’s internal review of procedures.
The union said it was encouraged by the willingness of sport’s governing bodies to assist in establishing a clear standard for ceremonies, and the review might identify gaps and enhance industry-wide protocols to safeguard the city’s reputation.
The committee published the guidelines after meeting officials from the Culture, Sports and Tourism Bureau. Committee members will be briefed on the guidelines on Thursday, while sports associations will be reminded about the changes at least once a year.
Two more similar blunders involving the city’s rugby team came to light on Saturday.
Footage carried on a popular sports streaming site showed a rugby match on November 6 in Dubai between Portugal and Hong Kong during which the correct music was used but it was wrongly labelled as “Glory to Hong Kong” in a graphic by a TV station that broadcast the game.
A similar episode also happened during the broadcast of a match between Hong Kong and Tonga held in Australia on July 23.