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Soccer

South Korean soccer team fined for using sex dolls in place of fans in empty stadium

FC Seoul has apologized for using sex dolls in place of fans during its 1-0 win over Gwangju FC on Sunday at the Seoul World Cup stadium.
(Ryu Young-suk / Yonhap via Associated Press)

The fans in the stands were tastefully attired in the home team’s colors.

They remained quiet and seated the entire game.

They were wearing masks and practicing proper social distancing, even though there was no way any of them could be infected with the novel coronavirus.

And, yet, those fans caused a lot of problems for FC Seoul.

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That’s because they were sex dolls.

The South Korean soccer club was fined 100 million won ($81,410) by the Korea Professional Football League on Wednesday for using the adult toys to fill seats during a spectator-free game last weekend. It’s the most the K League has ever fined a team.

The coronavirus outbreak has athletes and medical experts from all over the world wondering how good sportsmanship can be embraced without shaking hands.

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

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The league is playing with no fans present amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Representatives from FC Seoul have said the team thought it was using about 25 regular mannequins to fill the void in the stands during its game Sunday against Gwangju. The league determined that the team had plenty of opportunities to notice the true nature of the dolls between the noon placement in the seats and 7 p.m. kickoff.

FC Seoul said it accepts its punishment.

“We apologize deeply to all those concerned about the unfortunate situation that occurred,” stated FC Seoul, which also has disciplined some of its employees for their roles in the matter. “We will review our internal procedures to ensure this does not happen again.”

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MLS calls off its All-Star game that had been slated for July 29 at LAFC’s stadium. The Leagues Cup and Campeones Cup tournaments also were canceled.

The incident is also being investigated by Seoul Facilities Corp., which operates Seoul World Cup Stadium. A possible punishment could be expulsion from the stadium.

“That would be the most serious measure,” an official told newspaper Kookmin Ilbo. “We will review the incident and then decide what to do.”

FC Seoul said it has asked police for an investigation into the supplier.


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