30th May 2023 – (Hong Kong) The Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong (SF&OC) has issued new guidelines requiring local sports associations to collect a USB containing the correct National Anthem provided by the authority before setting off for international sports events. The enhanced guidelines were issued after discussions with the government and are set to take effect on 1st June, 2023.
To ensure the correct version of the national anthem and regional flag are used at international sports events, SF&OC will provide sports teams with a toolkit that includes a USB containing the proper national anthem and two regional flags. Teams participating in international sports events must collect the toolkit every time before departure.
In addition, sports associations are required to provide the event organizer with the official link to the recording of the national anthem and the correct specifications of the regional flag. They must also ensure that the event organizer confirms receipt of the materials by signing the acknowledgement receipt provided by SF&OC.
The team leader assigned by the relevant NSA’s executive council or committee is responsible for bringing along the toolkit and passing one hard copy of the national anthem and one regional flag to the event organizer. The team leader must also check on-site with the event organizer on the national anthem and regional flag to ensure that the correct version will be used. If the organizer refuses to let the team leader listen to and check the national anthem or check the regional flag on-site, the team leader must not allow team members to attend the sports events orawards presentation ceremonies until the checking is completed.
The SF&OC’s new guidelines are in response to the National Anthem Law, which mandates the playing of the national anthem at formal occasions and requires all individuals to stand up and show respect. The law also prohibits the alteration or improper performance of the national anthem.
The SF&OC’s move is a proactive step to ensure that sports teams comply with the National Anthem Law and maintain Hong Kong’s reputation for upholding national symbols. The guidelines aim to prevent any potential misunderstandings and controversy that could arise from incorrect versions of the national anthem being played at international sports events.
The SF&OC has emphasised the importance of respecting the national anthem and regional flag, stating that they are symbols of the country and should be treated with the utmost respect. They have urged sports teams to comply with the new measures and represent Hong Kong in the best possible way at international sports events.