Argentine athletes warned by FISU for carrying Taiwanese flags at Universiade closing ceremony

FISU sends formal warning to Argentine team the day after they carried Taiwan flags and wore wigs in the Taiwanese national colors

Taiwanese fans toss Taiwan flag to Argentine athlete. (www.facebook.com/CKPC.tw)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- A day after the Argentine athletes boldly carried the official Taiwan flag and wore wigs in the Taiwanese national colors into Taipei Municipal Stadium during the procession of athletes, the International University Sports Federation (FISU) sent a formal written warning to the Argentina team that they must respect the rules set down by the International Olympic Committee and not act in a way that detracts from the spirit of the Universiade. 

FISU President Oleg Matytsi told TVBS reporters that as soon as they saw the Argentine athletes wearing Taiwanese flags, the FISU sent the team a formal letter asking them "to not use the Universiade as a political demonstration."

Universiade spokesman Yang Ching-tang (楊景棠) told Apple Daily reporters that the FISU sent the letter directly to the Argentina team and reminded them not to violate the Olympic model. However, he said that Taipei city government was not involved and from his understanding the FISU cannot  mete out punishment to the Argentina team for the incident, and that Chinese authorities are not currently involved in the matter. 

In the first paragraph of the letter made pubic by TVBS, the FISU stated that it "always adheres to the principle that sports events should always be peaceful celebrations of human achievement."

In the second paragraph the letter stated that the organization has "worked hard to ensure that political issues do not overshadow the sport." It added that "detailed protocol requirements were established that clearly explained the naming issue of Chinese Taipei, as well as the issue of the flag." At the end of the paragraph, in reference to the usage of Chinese Taipei and its official Olympic flag, it wrote, "the one thing we must teach must be respect for the rules."

In the third paragraph it states that it had come to the FISU's attention that "some of your athletes at last night's closing ceremony may not have acted entirely in keeping with the protocols in question and in a spirit of respect."

In response to the incident, the FISU wrote "We have a duty to make sure they do not behave in a way that detracts from the spirit of the Universiade."

The Argentine athletes' gesture during the closing ceremony immediately drew attention from Taiwanese fans and media as throughout the Taipei Universiade the host country was not allowed by the International University Sports Federation (FISU) to fly its national flag, and instead only display the Chinese Taipei flag at the games to comply with Olympic rules. 

The Republic of China (ROC) first competed in the Olympics beginning in 1932, but in 1975, the People's Republic of China (PRC) applied to participate in the games and insisted that the ROC (Taiwan) be decertified in the process.  After much controversy over whether the ROC could participate in the 1976 Montreal games in Canada, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau (father of current Canadian President Justin Trudeau) suggested the ROC compete as "Taiwan," as a compromise. The ROC government refused his terms and boycotted the games.

Taiwan was not allowed back into the Olympics until the so-called "Nagoya Resolution" was passed in Nagoya, Japan in 1979 by the IOC, which dictated that Taiwan must use the ambiguous name "Chinese Taipei" and not use its national flag or anthem. 


Taiwanese fans toss a flag to an Argentine athlete. (www.facebook.com/CKPC.tw)

A photographer with the CK Photography Club who took many of the photos said that at least two of the flags were handed to the athletes by Taiwanese fans in the front row.