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Published: 14:16, November 23, 2022 | Updated: 15:42, November 23, 2022
HK sports community backs new national anthem guidelines
By Xi Tianqi
Published:14:16, November 23, 2022 Updated:15:42, November 23, 2022 By Xi Tianqi

A Hong Kong resident takes a photo of the display of national and HKSAR flags on Oct 1. (ANDY CHONG / CHINA DAILY)

Hong Kong sports associations have expressed support for new guidelines that require coaches and athletes to immediately address any problem about the national anthem and the flag of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region during international sporting events.

The guidelines, issued by the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China on Tuesday after a meeting with the government, came after a song linked to separatism was wrongfully portrayed as the Chinese national anthem at three rugby matches that the Hong Kong rugby team played overseas.

The new guidelines stipulate that in case an error is found in the playing of the national anthem or the raising of the regional flag during international sports events they participated in, athletes and teams should use their hands to display the sign of “T” (for “time out”) to express objection and call for an immediate correction

After the incidents led to a public outcry in Hong Kong, Asia Rugby President Qais Abdulla Al Dhalai paid a special visit to Hong Kong from Dubai on Tuesday to offer his apology to Hong Kong when meeting with Chief Secretary for Administration Eric Chan Kwok-ki.

ALSO READ: CS meets with Asia Rugby president over anthem blunders

The new guidelines stipulate that in case an error is found in the playing of the national anthem or the raising of the regional flag during international sports events they participated in, athletes and teams should use their hands to display the sign of “T” (for “time out”) to express objection and call for an immediate correction.

In a statement, the Hong Kong Rugby Union pledged to follow and incorporate these guidelines as part of a thorough internal review of its team protocols and procedures.

The union accepted that the HKRU and its representative teams and athletes will need greater vigilance to ensure that the image of Hong Kong is properly safeguarded at overseas competitions, according to the statement.

The spokesman said that representatives of the union will attend the briefing session of the SF&OC on Thursday.

ALSO READ: HK police launch full probe into rugby anthem blunders

Hong Kong Football Association Chairman Pui Kwan-kay said the guidelines will help sports associations understand more clearly how to deal with national anthem errors and those related with the regional flag

The union spokesman also said the group will work closely with the Hong Kong sporting community, including the SF&OC, to better understand and adopt the best practices moving forward.

Hong Kong Football Association Chairman Pui Kwan-kay said the guidelines will help sports associations understand more clearly how to deal with national anthem errors and those related with the regional flag.

He also said that playing the wrong national anthem or flying the wrong regional flag is a serious offense and therefore justified the sanctions mentioned in the guidelines.

READ MORE: Anthem mix-ups at rugby matches rile city

According to the guidelines, National Sports Associations that fail to comply may be subject to sanctions, including suspension of membership or suspension of government subsidies, depending on individual circumstances.

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