GOLD COAST, Australia (Reuters) - England have been listed as an African nation with capital Banjul in the official programme for the Commonwealth Games’ opening ceremony, leaving Gold Coast organisers red-faced.
The A$10 (£5.5) programme, being sold at newsagents and merchandise tents around the balmy Queensland resort, has England’s population listed at just over two million and their first Commonwealth Games appearance in 1970.
Banjul is the capital of west African nation, The Gambia, which was a late entry to the Gold Coast Games.
Organising committee boss Mark Peters said The Gambia’s participation, which was confirmed last month, had led to the printing gaffe.
Both England and The Gambia had taken it in good humour, he said. England had also declined the offer of a complete re-print.
“We found out about it maybe 10 days ago,” Peters told reporters at a media briefing ahead of the opening ceremony starting 7 p.m. local time (0900 GMT).
“We went and spoke to England and said that, ‘Congratulations, the Commonwealth’s changing and it has since Brexit. And part of you is now part of Africa’.
“Sometimes you make mistakes and we cop it and we spoke to England.
“We are actually doing a special re-print of 500 to give to the English and to the CGF to make sure that in terms of the records that’s done correctly.
“We looked at putting stickers into the programmes and all that but I guess in another minor ticketing issue, we say they’re going to be so valuable after the Games because of that mistake.”
Ghana women’s hockey captain Nafisatu Umaru “humbly” welcomed England as an African nation, prompting a laugh from reporters at the media briefing.
“England has made a big impact for us and England is part of our success story,” she said.
The programme error follows a printing mistake revealed in February that had the wrong day listed for the opening ceremony on some 14,000 tickets sold for the event.
The official ticket seller was also criticised in the same month after getting session times wrong on hundreds of tickets for a number of the Games’ sporting events.
England topped the medals table at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
The quadrennial Games feature mainly nations and territories from the former British empire.
Editing by Amlan Chakraborty