Thursday, July 26, 2012
FAIL! North Korean Women initially refuse to play Colombia at London 2012 due to South Korea flag appearing by their names
London 2012 organisers suffered major embarrassment on the opening day of sporting action after North Korea initially refused to play their women's football match against Colombia. The North Koreans left the pitch in protest shortly before the end of their scheduled warmup in Glasgow last night amid scenes of high farce as the South Korean flag was shown on the Hampden Park big screens alongside the North Korean team lineup.
Kick-off was due at 7.45pm but the aggrieved players did not restart their warmup until just before 8.30pm, after the flag was replaced with the correct one on the scoreboards following extensive negotiations behind the scenes. The match eventually kicked off at 8.50pm.
The incident will cause huge discomfort to Games organisers. Hundreds of thousands of tickets for the men's and women's football tournaments were unsold, with a particular lack of interest in matches in Glasgow. An attendance of 15,000 was given for USA's win over France yesterday at Hampden Park – more than double that number of free tickets had been distributed.
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games issued an immediate apology to the North Korea team: "Today ahead of the women's football match at Hampden the South Korean flag was shown on a big screen instead of the flag of North Korea," a Locog statement read. "Clearly that is a mistake. We will apologise to the team and the national Olympic committee and steps will be taken to ensure no repeat" a Locog statement said.
Source 1, Source 2