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20.05.2020 Europe

Seoul sisters: K-League outfit await their fate over dolls in stadium

By Paul Myers - RFI
LISTEN MAY 20, 2020

South Korean football outfit FC Seoul faced further fallout on Wednesday from their attempt to inflate the atmosphere during their home match behind closed doors on Sunday against Gwangju.

The club was facing a fine, a possible points deduction and problems with their landlords after dolls were placed on seats - according to social distancing guidelines - at the World Cup Stadium wearing masks and FC Seoul colours.

The Yonhap news agency reported that fans posted suspicions about the life-size dolls on social media during the match.

One banner showed the names of an adult toy manufacturer and of models who had inspired those dolls. 

Such advertising is in breach of K-League rules and with the matter referred to a disciplinary committee, FC Seoul could be fined about 4,000 euros or have points deducted. 

There could also be a sanction for damaging the image of the K-League.

The South Korean championship has been basking in worldwide attention since 8 May when it became the first league to resume after a lockdown ordered to arrest the spread of the coronavirus.

As a condition of the return, games must be played without spectators and under strict health protocols. The German Bundesliga relaunched last weekend with similar conditions.

In South Korea, several clubs have used cardboard cutouts, placards and banners to fill up the stands.

FC Seoul officials apologised after Sunday's 1-0 victory for any offence that had been caused. They said their supplier was certain mannequins had been deployed and not sex dolls.

Since Sunday's debacle, Seoul Facilities Corporation, which operates the stadium, is investigating a potential breach. As part of the lease agreement, the club is required to obtain permission in advance for advertising. 

By not doing so, they could be expelled from the stadium where they have been based since 2004.

FC Seoul added: “We apologise deeply to all those concerned about the unfortunate situation that occurred. We will review our internal procedures to ensure this does not happen again.”

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