January 31, 2023



FC Seoul face possible stadium expulsion for using sex dolls to fill seats | Football

2 min read

FC Seoul are facing penalties, including expulsion from their own stadium, for putting sex dolls on empty seats during a match last weekend.

South Korea’s K-League is one of the few football leagues operating during the coronavirus pandemic, with games being played in empty stadiums, but FC Seoul’s attempts to increase the atmosphere during their 1-0 win over Gwangju on Sunday backfired. The club expressed their remorse as the public reaction intensified, but said they were assured by a supplier they were using mannequins not sex dolls to mimic a home crowd.

About 25 dolls 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.

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

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There could be worse to follow for FC Seoul, the 2016 league champions. According to reports, Seoul Facilities Corporation, which operates the stadium, is investigating a potential breach. As part of the lease agreement, the club are 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 issued another apology on Wednesday, while Yonhap said the club had asked police to investigate. “We apologise 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.”

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