Sports officials on Friday denied making scapegoats of local associations for blunders involving the national anthem as they complained of "shortcomings in governance" at the group embroiled in the latest controversy.
After a Sports Federation and Olympic Committee (SF&OC) board meeting, honourary secretary-general Edgar Yang said the Hong Kong Ice Hockey Association (HKIHA) has not been able to address concerns raised after a 2019 protest song was played at a tournament in Bosnia last month in place of the anthem.
"Based on their response, we think they are treating what they have said as if they took actions...I noted a lot of inadequacies, due to problems in its governance," Yang said.
Neither Yang nor SF&OC president Timothy Fok elaborated on the alleged shortcomings or how they could have led to the anthem blunder, and they didn't confirm whether or not the Ice Hockey Association will be punished for the incident, including with a possible suspension from the federation.
Yang was asked what he made of the leader of the ice hockey team denying any blame for the blunder.
"If one feels innocent because of a mistake regarding the national anthem in a competition, I believe everyone knows what the right answer is," Yang replied.
The organisers of the tournament in Sarajevo earlier explained that the protest song was selected by mistake after they struggled to download a recording of the national anthem from a Chinese government website they were directed to. The website is only in Chinese.
Yang dismissed suggestions that sports associations are being made a scapegoat for such incidents, saying the teams and the SF&OC are "in the same boat".
In a statement published later in the day, the SF&OC said the ice hockey association did respond to requests for details and a meeting, apart from the team manager's response to media enquiries.
"It was not until HKIHA submitted the supplementary report on March 20 that a meeting with SF&OC could be confirmed. Such evasive attitude reflects that the attention given by HKIHA's Executive Committee to the handling of the national anthem and the incident is seriously insufficient," it said.
The SF&OC added it will submit a detailed report to the government and discuss possible disciplinary action for the case.
Last updated: 2023-03-24 HKT 20:25