HKRU STATEMENT ON ANTHEM CAPTIONS AT RWC 2023 QUALIFICATION TOURNAMENT

19 Nov 2022

[Hong Kong, 19 November 2022]:  The Hong Kong Rugby Union (HKRU) is aware that in the World Rugby television broadcast of the Hong Kong versus Portugal match at the Final Qualification Tournament for Rugby World Cup 2023 on Friday, 6 November, an incorrect graphics caption was used when the PRC National Anthem was played prior to the game.
 
The Hong Kong men’s team lined up and sang The March of the Volunteers, however on the television broadcast a graphic was super-imposed on the live shots by the World Rugby production crew incorrectly labelling the anthem as another song. 
 
No member of the Hong Kong team or management was aware of this issue until after the match, nor was any team member or management staff ever asked by World Rugby or its operational broadcast or production teams the name of the anthem, nor were we informed that the name of the anthem would be displayed in broadcast coverage.

Once informed of this issue, HKRU staff raised it with World Rugby, the following day it was subsequently explained that this was an error of the ‘graphics operator’.  World Rugby apologized to the HKRU for this error and has attempted to retroactively correct it on its on-demand and other released videos.
 
The correct caption was shown for the ensuing games featuring Hong Kong on 12 and 18 November, during which The March of the Volunteers was played, sung and accurately labelled.  

The HKRU has since requested a detailed timeline and explanation from World Rugby, as well as a formal apology from the global body to the Government and people of Hong Kong, and understands that this will be issued forthwith.
 
Since then, the HKRU has also approached World Rugby and various internet platforms to ensure the imagery is removed from the platforms. This work continues. As a precaution, the HKRU is also reviewing footage of other international matches featuring the national teams in an attempt to determine if there have been other such instances. 

UPDATE 19 Nov. 16.45

As part of this general review process, the Hong Kong Rugby Union has now confirmed that the same incorrect graphic was used by the World Rugby broadcast production crew in the televised match footage of the Hong Kong versus Tonga match played as part of the Rugby World Cup 2023 qualification process on 23 July 2022.   

Playing or labelling the national anthem of China incorrectly is both disrespectful and hurtful to the people of Hong Kong and the nation, and the HKRU has again expressed its extreme dissatisfaction with World Rugby for this serious error.  The HKRU also sincerely regrets any damage to the reputation of the city from the errors committed by the game’s governing bodies regionally and globally.  


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