Soccer

South Korean soccer team slammed with record fine for putting sex dolls in seats

South Korea's K League said on Wednesday its disciplinary committee decided to impose a 100 million won ($113,173) fine on FC Seoul for using sex dolls instead of mannequins to fill empty seats in their stadium.

FC Seoul could be expelled from own stadium over incident

South Korean soccer club FC Seoul was handed a record fine by the K League on Wednesday after playing a game with sex dolls sitting in empty seats on the weekend. (Ryu Young-suk/Yonhap via AP)

South Korea's K League said on Wednesday its disciplinary committee decided to impose a 100 million won ($113,173) fine on FC Seoul for using sex dolls instead of mannequins to fill empty seats in their stadium.

The club placed dolls in seats during a K League match on Sunday to make up for the absence of fans due to COVID-19 restrictions.

"The disciplinary committee decided to take heavy disciplinary action considering the graveness of the incident, caused by the 'real doll', that has greatly insulted and hurt female and family fans and to prevent similar incidents going forward," K League said in a statement.

The club apologized on Monday saying they had failed to check the consignment sent by the supplier, though adding it was not aware the dolls were "adult products."

Though the incident was not intended, it was possible to distinguish the dolls from ordinary mannequins and the club has made a serious mistake by not removing them when it had enough time before the game started, K League added.

Some of the dolls had been dressed in the club's kit while others were holding supportive placards. Fans watching the match on television took to social media to raise doubts about the inflatable spectators.

About 25 mannequins were supplied by a local company and dressed in FC Seoul colours and wearing masks. The Yonhap news agency reported that fans posted suspicions about the life-size dolls on social media during the match and one banner showed the names of an adult toy manufacturer and of models who had inspired those dolls.

World's attention

Such advertising is in breach of the competition's rules, and K-League officials have referred the matter to a disciplinary committee.

On May 8, the K-League became the first major soccer league to start playing after the coronavirus pandemic shuttered sports around the world. The opening game attracted 19 million viewers worldwide.

There could be worse to follow for FC Seoul, the 2016 league champion. According to reports, Seoul Facilities Corporation, which operates the stadium, is investigating a potential breach. As part of its lease agreement, the club is required to obtain permission in advance for advertising. By not doing so, it could be expelled from the stadium where it has been based since 2004.

FC Seoul issued another apology on Wednesday as the case continued to dominate sports news. Yonhap said the club had asked the police to investigate.

"We apologize deeply to all those concerned about the unfortunate situation that occurred," the club said. "We will review our internal procedures to ensure this does not happen again."

With files from The Associated Press

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