The times the wrong national anthem has been played at sporting events
Officials at the ATP Cup in Sydney have apologised after playing the wrong national anthem ahead of the clash between Moldova and Belgium. Rather than the national anthem of Moldova being played ahead of the match, the anthem of Russia was played instead, leading to a lot of strange looks from the Moldovan team. This isn’t the first time that the wrong anthem has been played at a sporting event and we’ve taken a look back at some of the other times where officials have been left red-faced due to an anthem gaff.
US Tennis used Nazi-era anthem
US Tennis were forced to apologise back in 2017 as a singer in Hawaii sang the version of the German national anthem that is widely associated with the Nazi-era before a Fed Cup clash. He sang the verse “Deutschland, Deutschland uber alles, uber alles in der Welt” a version is closely identified with Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich. The verse, which used to begin the anthem, is now considered anachronistic and players of the German team were deeply upset when they heard it.
The 2003 Davis Cup final
Ahead of the 2003 Davis Cup final between Australia and Spain in Melbourne, Spain’s pre-civil war republican anthem was played, much to the annoyance of the Spanish. Cameras even caught Spain’s sports minister Juan Antonio Gomez-Angulo waving and yelling furiously from the stands to get the song to stop playing.
Albania players furious at the French
Albania’s footballers were left furious ahead of their Euro 2020 qualifier against France as officials accidentally played the Andorran national anthem instead of theirs. The players refused to start the game until the right anthem was played, leading to a delayed kick-off.
Wrong Russian anthem played at the 2017 biathlon world championships
When the Russian team won at the 2017 biathlon world championships in Austria, an older version of the Russian anthem was played at the medal ceremony. The athletes decided to take matters into their own hands by grabbing a microphone and singing the correct version themselves!
For those who aren’t aware, Sambo is a popular form of martial arts and an incident at the 2015 Sambo youth championships in Serbia almost caused a diplomatic incident. A young winner, from Azerbaijan, had the Armenian national anthem played at his ceremony, which was a bit awkward as those two countries were officially at war with each other!
Chile reception for Uruguay
Ahead of the clash between Uruguay and Mexico at the 2016 Copa America at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, Uruguyan players were upset as the Chilean national anthem was played instead of their own. Luis Suarez, in particular, was not happy with the incident.
One of the most egregious anthem errors of all time came after a shooting competition in Kuwait. Winner Maria Dmitrienko from Kazakhstan was on the podium but rather than hearing the anthem of her country, she was greeted by “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” a parody anthem from the Sacha Baron Cohen film Borat!
"We'll sing it ourselves"
In 2018, after the USA had defeated the home nation at the under-18 men’s ice hockey world championships in Chelyabinsk, Russia, they lined up to celebrate with the US anthem. The organisers played an unrecognisable tune so the players took it upon themselves to sing the correct version of the Star Spangled Banner.
Hungarian fencing team complain at London
Ahead of the 2012 Olympics in London, officials hired the famous London Philharmonic Orchestra to record all the anthems at the Abbey Road Studios. On the whole, the idea was a success but the Hungarian’s weren’t best pleased. After winning a fencing gold medal and hearing their anthem, they requested a change saying that the “rhythm and tones were off”.
Scotland get it wrong
Officials from Scottish Rugby Union apologised after playing Georgia’s wrong national anthem ahead of their clash at Murrayfield in September 2019. They accidentally played an older version of the anthem which was used when the country gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
More ice hockey anthem issues
At the 2015 Women’s U18 ice hockey World Cup, Russia’s players sang the Russian national anthem themselves after officials played an older version by mistake.