The Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong on Tuesday issued a set of guidelines with immediate effect to all its associations on the proper use of the national anthem and the SAR’s flag in international competitions.
The committee said it will provide sports associations with tool kits, including a computer disk or external storage device containing the audio file of the anthem, as well as two regional flags, so they can be given to event organisers.
For each event, a sports team should remind organisers and take steps to ensure that the description and name of the anthem, as well as the specification of the regional flag are accurate in the recordings and other post-event productions, the guidelines said.
Event organisers should confirm receipt of the materials by way of email, mobile communication tools such as a WhatsApp message, or a signed written note.
It added that sports teams should not use any flags given to them by unknown parties, including spectators.
In case anything goes wrong when the national anthem is being played, or when the regional flag is raised, athletes and other members of the team should hold up their arms and make a “T” sign “for expressing objection to the error”.
They should call for an immediate correction, the guidelines stated, adding if a mistake is not promptly corrected, the full team should leave the venue.
“Should correction be done properly, the full team and/or athlete[s] may line up again to attend the ceremony,” it said.
Sports associations that fail to comply with the guidelines may face sanctions, including suspension of membership by the committee, and suspension of funding support from the government.
The guideline was issued after several blunders in recent months, including at the Asian Rugby Sevens Series in South Korea on November 13, when the wrong song was played instead of the anthem.