THE LONDON 2012 OLYMPICS don’t officially begin for another two days – but already the largest sporting event in the world has seen its first diplomatic dispute.
The North Korean women’s football team were due to play their opening group stage match against Colombia in Hampden Park in Glasgow this evening.
But the Koreans refused to take to the field until 8:25pm – in protest at a producers’ error which saw the South Korean flag displayed on the stadium’s big screen alongside the players’ names.
The match, which was due to begin at 7:45pm, was delayed while the Koreans refused to take to the field – with the match not kicking off until 8:50pm as a result.
The flag error will come as a blow to the Games’ organisers LOCOG, who had been keen to avoid any potential diplomatic standoffs between many of the participating countries with less-than-friendly histories – and who had insisted they would not make any errors with flags or anthems.
“Clearly that is a mistake,” a spokeswoman for LOCOG told AP this evening, referring to the incorrect flag.
“We will apologise to the team and the National Olympic Committee, and steps will be taken to ensure this does not happen again.”
North and South Korea are still technically at war, having never agreed to a peace treaty when fighting in the Korean War ended in 1953.