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Saturday, Feb 24, 2024

Top sports body and ice hockey association, players trade shots over anthem blunder

Top sports body and ice hockey association, players trade shots over anthem blunder

The Sports Federation & Olympics Committee of Hong Kong (SF&OC) said it wouldn’t comment on remarks made by the Hong Kong Ice Hockey Association (HKIHA) and players, criticizing its handling of the national anthem blunder.
The latest anthem blunder occurred on February 28 at the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division III in Bosnia, with the 2019 protest song being played after the Hong Kong team defeated Iran 11-1 in Group B. The correct Chinese national anthem was played shortly after.

In a statement issued Friday, SF&OC said the report it submitted to the SAR government earlier had attached the written explanation by the HKIHA, as well as relevant emails and documents, providing all the facts regarding the anthem blunder.

SF&OC also urged HKIHA to prepare a written report that comes up with all the facts and manageable corporate governance solutions.

SF&OC added it had initiated procedures to temporarily suspend the membership of HKIHA, saying the decision would not be made by SF&OC alone.

Over the past few days, players and HKIHA have been slashing at SF&OC’s handling of the incident.

The team’s vice-captain Alvin Sham Cheuk-him told media on Wednesday that players’ hard work was ignored in the incident, despite their sacrifices in time and money.

“If the wrong song was never played, no one would know we have a match, and no one would even know that there is an ice hockey team representing Hong Kong,” Sham said.

He hit back at the government’s “contradictive” response that authorities may cut funding in a way that won’t affect athletes as well. “Playing ice hockey is not easy already, and further cutting the funding basically means we shouldn’t play ice hockey anymore.”

On Thursday, the association also issued a statement representing its firm stance on the controversy.

“The SF&OC repeatedly made media comments that didn’t match with facts,” it read. It also blasted that SF&OC is most disrespectful to athletes’ toil and achievements.

The HKIHA was earlier given a month for a written explanation and had pledged full cooperation with the SF&OC.

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