North Korea’s first women’s football match of the London Olympics was delayed for more than an hour on Wednesday after they refused to play in an embarrassing mix-up over national flags.
A source told the team were angry after Hampden Park’s giant screen showed images of North Korean players next to the South Korean flag before their match with Colombia.
Today ahead of the women’s football match at Hampden Park, the South Korean flag was shown on a big screen video package instead of the North Korean flag
The game failed to start as scheduled at 7.45pm (4.45am) after North Korea refused to take the field. It finally kicked off at 8.50pm.
“Today ahead of the women’s football match at Hampden Park, the South Korean flag was shown on a big screen video package instead of the North Korean flag,” said a statement from London 2012 organisers.
“Clearly that is a mistake, we will apologise to the team and the National Olympic Committee and steps will be taken to ensure this does not happen again.”
Associated Press reporter Rob Harris later tweeted that the organizers had to correct their apology, “after not calling them ‘Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’”.
North Korea won 2-0.
North Korea’s very participation in the Olympic women’s football tournament is shrouded in controversy.
Six players and two medical officers were banned following last July’s women’s World Cup after the players tested positive to anabolic steroids.
Many believe the third-placed team from Asian qualifying, Australia, should have been elevated to the Olympic tournament.
North Korea finished behind Japan but ahead of Australia in Asian Olympic qualifying after beating the Matildas 1-0. The Matildas had beaten North Korea in the previous year’s Asian Cup final.
That is just beyond unacceptable! Tensions are too high to mix that up!