Never mind flag & nationality mix-ups,welcome to N O D N O L

Wrong-footed: Gaffes before the official start leave the games Organisers red in the face

Written by Agencies | London | Published: July 27, 2012 1:41:43 am

Olympic organisers were forced into a second embarrassing apology in 24 hours on Thursday after describing Welsh midfielder Joe Allen as English in the official programme for Britain’s soccer match against Senegal at Old Trafford.

On Wednesday,London Games chiefs said sorry for displaying the South Korean flag on a video screen when North Korea’s women’s soccer team met Colombia in Glasgow and another apology followed before Thursday’s match kicked off. North Korea’s players had walked off the pitch in protest,before taking the field later. Allen,22,who plays for Welsh club Swansea City in the English Premier League,is a fluent Welsh speaker and is one of five Welshman selected in the 18-man squad.

Message spelt backwards

There were several incidents off the field that left organisers squeamish too. A shopping centre next to the Olympic Park had displayed incomprehensible welcome signs in a garbled attempt at Arabic in the latest cultural blunder when the eyes of the world are fixed on the British capital.

The council said signs that were supposed to say “Welcome to London” in Arabic were instead written backwards and did not have the letters joined up,leaving the message virtually indecipherable (LONDON became N O D N O L) . Chris Doyle of the Council for Advancing Arab-British Relations (Caabu) says the banner has taken a simple message and “jumbled it up and separated the letters — what you got was a load of gibberish”.

“It beggars belief they cannot even write ‘welcome’ in Arabic. What will our Olympic guests be thinking? It is cringe-worthy,” said Doyle on the organisation’s website.

Ukraine is Russia?

Earlier,Ukraine had asked London Olympics organisers to correct biographies of athletes published on the Games website that placed the competitors’ Ukrainian birthplaces in Russia,officials said today. “We adressed the demand to organisers on Wednesday,” Ukraine National Olympic Committee spokesperson Irina Golinko said.

The problem applies chiefly to athletes who are representing Russia but were born in the Soviet Union.

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