Thursday, June 7, 2012
Britain apologises to South Africa
SOUTH Africa have received an official apology from Great Britain Hockey after the apartheid anthem Die Stem was mistakenly played prior to yesterday's match at the London Cup.
In a letter to tournament organisers, Marissa Langeni, chief executive of the South African Hockey Association, said the country "watched with disbelief as our team stood through what clearly was a most embarrassing and uncomfortable experience".
South Africa's women went on to beat the hosts 3-1 in their opening game and GB Hockey have moved swiftly to apologise for the administrative mistake.
"Great Britain Hockey, the organiser of the Investec London Cup, offers a full and unreserved apology to the South African women's hockey team and their supporters for mistakenly playing the wrong national anthem before South Africa's match with Great Britain on Tuesday afternoon," chief executive Sally Munday said.
"The error was made by a contractor responsible for sports presentation at the event.
"Standard procedure would be to check anthems to be played with visiting teams in advance, however, on this occasion that did not happen and Great Britain Hockey accepts full responsibility.
"Great Britain Hockey and its contractor appreciate the sensitive nature of this unfortunate mistake and we apologise unreservedly for the offence caused.
"The correct anthem will be played before all of South Africa's remaining matches, beginning with the team's second fixture against Germany on Wednesday evening."
Langeni said she felt the incident clouded what had been a great day for the team.
"We are extremely disappointed that an administrative blunder has been the source of much embarrassment for our team and all South Africans," she said in a statement prior to the apology.
"The anthem played caused our team much discomfort as they stood not knowing what to do with themselves.
"This incident has robbed our team of what should have been a moment of pride."