SCOTLAND’s hosting of Olympic Games events was hit by a major blunder last night, when North Korea’s women refused to take the field at Hampden after its giant screens showed the SOUTH Korean flag.
The National Stadium’s second match of the opening day of the games was delayed by more than an hour while the players protested.
The flag was shown next to the names of the players on the screen at one end of the stadium during the warm-up before the game, which had been due to get under way at 7:45pm.
The North Korean players refused to take the field and returned to their dressing-room, leaving the bemused Colombians kicking their heels in the Hampden tunnel until it became obvious there was going to a lengthy delay.
Organisers of the games were forced to issue a humiliating apology to the North Korean squad before the game actually got under way at 8:50pm.
The incident marred Hampden’s big day in the limelight ahead of Friday’s opening ceremony in London, and it was the first major gaffe of the Olympics.
However, later last night organisers faced further embarrassment when it emerged that thousands of spectactors with tickets for diving events are to be offered refunds as part of the new aquatics centre will not offer full views of the diving competitions.
A full-blown investigation was under way last night into how the mistake at Hampden could have been made.
Olympic insiders at the stadium said the finger of blame was being appointed at Hampden
officials for not spotting the blunder before it was beamed on to the giant screens.
However, it is thought video packages for all the teams, featuring their flags, was made by the organising committee for the games in London.
A spokesman for Locog (London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games) said: “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.
“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.”
Several thousand spectators had been waiting for the game to start after a crowd of around 15,000 had turned out to see the earlier match between the United States and France.
Hampden is hosting eight men’s and women’s Olympic football matches, but organisers have been left with tens of thousands of unsold tickets.
Only 7,000 tickets had been bought for the opening two games, although thousands were given away free of charge.
Venue spokesman Andy Mitchell said: “The South Korean flag was shown in the video package on the screen before the kick-off and the North Koreans were naturally very upset about that. “We have made a full apology. A genuine mistake was made.”
It is thought only several hundred spectators were left when the final whistle blew on the North Korea-Colombia game.
One of those at the game, Tony Lord, 41, said: “After the flag incident they played the Korean national anthem – hopefully the right one – and the players looked happier.
“They didn’t tell the crowd what had happened at all. People were doing Mexican waves and cheering and so on.”
Meanwhile, it emerged that Locog would be offering refunds to up to 4,800 people after admitting some spectators would struggle to see all the action in the 10-metre diving platform events, which feature Britain’s big medal hope, Tom Daley.
Organisers confirmed that 600 spectators high up in the stands at the 17,500-seater venue would have their view partially obscured at each session.
Given there are eight sessions over the men’s and women’s individual and synchro, many spectators could ask for their money back, with the tickets all in the £30-50 range.
The competition starts on Sunday, and a statement from Locog read: “We have sold up to 600 tickets for the 10m platform diving sessions, which may not have a full view of each dive.
“We put these tickets on sale after the test event, once we had tested these seats and were satisfied with the spectator viewing experience.
“Because of the angle and curve of the Aquatics Centre roof, there may be a small part of the dive which the spectators in these seats can’t see. They can view the whole dive on the big screen.
“We are in the process of e-mailing spectators who have these tickets to explain, and we are happy to give a full refund.”
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 9 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North