16th Nov 2022

[Hong Kong, Nov 15 2022]:  The HKRU has issued the following statement regarding the confirmation of national anthems to be played should Hong Kong reach competition finals during the Asia Rugby Sevens Series.

The HKRU has noted that The March of the Volunteers has been played on all previously relevant Asia Rugby occasions for the past 25 years, including at the same tournament held at the same ground in South Korea in October 2021 and at fifteen-a-side matches at the venue, the most recent of which was in July of this year.

On 23 October 2022, Asia Rugby’s Competition Manager of the Asia Rugby Sevens Series confirmed directly with the Hong Kong coaching staff that The March of the Volunteers was the correct anthem to be played should Hong Kong reach a cup final during the ensuing competition. 

Hong Kong confirmed that this was correct and the HKRU is in possession of messages confirming this interaction.

Accordingly, the national anthem was played at the previous series event in Thailand and was expected to be played at every cup final that defending champions Hong Kong may reach during the series. 

At no point were Hong Kong or Asia Rugby informed that Korea Rugby Union intended to play anthems it searched on its own via the internet nor any other version other than that as confirmed by the HKRU to Asia Rugby, the organizers of the Asia Rugby Sevens Series.

Asia Rugby, tournament hosts, and all participating unions, are expected to abide by all conventions around the display of the national flag and anthem at competitions. As a founding member of Asia Rugby, the HKRU considers such compliance a condition of participation. Future errors of this type shall necessitate the immediate withdrawal of Hong Kong teams from competition.  

The HKRU has expressed its extreme dissatisfaction with this issue and has requested suitable assurances that this error will never be repeated.