Belfast Telegraph

Monday 28 July 2014

Flag blunder delays soccer kick-off

The North Korean team walk out before the game against Colombia at Hampden Park

North Korea staged a protest at the Olympic women's football match against Colombia in Scotland after a flag blunder.

The South Korean flag was shown by mistake on the big screen inside the Hampden Park stadium as the players warmed up on the pitch.

As a consequence, the North Koreans refused to play the match at the scheduled 7.45pm start time.

Their team walked off the pitch but were persuaded to return when the sides were announced again with each player's face displayed next to the North Korean flag.

A statement from Games organisers Locog said: "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.

"Clearly this 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."

The mistake occurred when a video package was being shown ahead of kick-off, with the North Koreans noticing that their faces were being pictured alongside the South Korean flag.

The match eventually began at 8.50pm after the team were placated.

South Korea and North Korea exist as neighbours but have a far from harmonious relationship.

The countries were formally established as separate entities in 1948, and the Korean War began in 1950.

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