SEOUL, South Korea — A South Korean soccer club is facing penalties, including expulsion from its own stadium, for putting sex dolls in empty seats during a match last weekend.
The K-League is one of the few soccer leagues operating during the coronavirus pandemic, with games being played in empty stadiums.
FC Seoul’s attempts to increase the atmosphere at Seoul World Cup Stadium backfired despite its 1-0 win over Gwangju on Sunday. The club expressed its “sincere remorse” as public backlash intensified, but said it was assured by a supplier that it was using mannequins — not sex dolls — to mimic a home crowd.
About 25 mannequins were supplied by a local company and dressed in FC Seoul colors 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.
Such advertising is in breach of the competition’s rules, and K-League officials have referred the matter to a disciplinary committee.
If found guilty, FC Seoul could be fined about $4,000 or have points deducted. The club could also be punished for damaging the prestige of the league at a time when it had been basking in unprecedented international attention.
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