Calls for Labour MP to apologise after he blames Hampden officials for Korean flag blunder

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By a Newsnet reporter
 
A Scottish Labour MP has been called on to apologise after suggesting that Hampden Officials were to blame for the embarrassing blunder that saw the wrong flag displayed alongside images of the North Korean women’s football team.

By a Newsnet reporter
 
A Scottish Labour MP has been called on to apologise after suggesting that Hampden Officials were to blame for the embarrassing blunder that saw the wrong flag displayed alongside images of the North Korean women’s football team.

East Renfrewshire MP Jim Murphy has angered Glasgow MSP James Dornan, whose constituency covers Hampden, after the Labour MP said: “You’d think in Glasgow of all places where football and flags have wider significance Hampden would get it right.”

The online comments from the former Secretary of State for Scotland follow the Olympic flag blunder that has caused an international row. 

Prior to their match against Columbia, the North Korean’s walked off the pitch after a video showing each player alongside a South Korean flag was beamed onto the huge stadium screen.  The walk off delayed the kick-off for an hour as anxious Olympic officials sought to apologise.

The Labour MPs tweet followed news that the video had been produced by the London organisers and was in fact outwith the control of Hampden officials, who had actually flown the correct flag over the stadium.

Speaking after the match, North Korea’s coach Sin Ui Gun said: “Our team was not going to participate unless the problem was solved properly.”

A statement released by London 2012 organisers, who accepted blame for the gaffe, said: “Ahead of the women’s football match at Hampden Park, the Republic of Korea flag was shown on a big screen video package instead of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea flag.

“Clearly that 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 incident has led to Prime Minister David Cameron having to apologise on behalf of Games Organisers after North Korean officials complained about the incident.

“This was an honest mistake, honestly made.” said the PM. “An apology has been made and I’m sure every step has been taken to ensure these things don’t happen again.

“We shouldn’t over-inflate this episode – it was unfortunate, it shouldn’t have happened and I think we can leave it at that.”

SNP MSP James Dornan called on Mr Murphy to apologise to the management and staff at Scotland’s National Stadium and everyone at the SFA over what he called “his misleading comments”. 

Mr Dornan, whose constituency of Cathcart covers Hampden, said that Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary must say sorry immediately.

“It is astonishing that a senior Labour figure could be so ignorant – 12 hours after the incident after LOCOG have apologised – and ill-informed.

“To say Mr Murphy’s comments are unhelpful would be an understatement in the extreme.

“This balls-up was 100% made by LOCOG -It has to be reiterated that the excellent management and staff of the National Stadium are in no way to blame for this carry-on.

“It would have been better if the authorities at Hampden had been responsible for the arrangements – after all this isn’t LOCOG’s first offence at Hampden.

“It took the intervention of the SNP’s Euro MEP Alyn Smith to make Olympic bosses see sense and reverse their daft ban on the Saltire from being flown over Hampden during the Games.

“Everyone I speak to – including my friends at the national stadium – is really excited about the Games, Scotland just wants to get on and enjoy the spectacle.”

In a separate incident, a Welsh footballer playing for Team GB, has been listed in an official programme as English.  22 year old Joe Allen, one of five Welshmen and a fluent Welsh speaker, is listed as having been born in England.

Games organisers LOCOG issued a statement that said: “We apologise for this mistake,”

They added: “New programmes are now being printed with the correction in time for Team GB’s next match.”