Twitter | @WhoAteTheSquid

South Korean Soccer League Fines Team Over 'Humiliating' Stunt To Fill Stands

With pro sports around the globe sidelined by the COVID-19 pandemic, leagues have been examining the safest way to get players back on the field and competing. South Korea has weathered the pandemic comparatively well so far, with 11,112 cases and just 264 deaths so far, according to Johns Hopkins data, despite recording their first case the same day as the United States.

So, naturally, they're one of the first countries to try getting their sports back into play, but they clearly haven't figured out all the wrinkles just yet.

Korea's soccer league is back in action, but without fans in the stands, and FC Seoul's stunt to fill the empty seats has been ruled decidedly offside.

Twitter | @WhoAteTheSquid

As CNN reported, while hosting a match with Gwangju FC recently, FC Seoul employed some rather unorthodox seat fillers in the form of sex dolls.

Although many were baffled by the display, viewers weren't fooled - although the dolls were fully clothed, some of their characteristics showed through all the same, not to mention that some held placards advertising adult products.

Afterwards, the club was at loss to adequately explain how sex dolls ended up in the stands of a nationally televised game.

Twitter | @WhoAteTheSquid

While team officials tried to assure fans that they "went through the confirmation process that they were not adult products several times," and claimed the dolls were used only due to a "mix-up" with suppliers, the club nevertheless took full responsibility.

Shortly after the match, the club issued a formal apology over the stunt.

Twitter | @WhoAteTheSquid

"Regarding the cheer mannequins that were installed during the game on the 17th, we sincerely apologize for causing deep concern to the fans," a statement on the team's Instagram account read.

"This is our fault without excuse. Regardless of the reason, we apologize again for causing great concern to the fans who love and cheer for FC Seoul."

However, despite the apology, league officials did not let FC Seoul off the hook.

"The controversy over this ‘real doll’ incident has deeply humiliated and hurt women fans, and damaged the integrity of the league," the league said in a statement, according to The Guardian.

Officials found the club's explanation that it didn't know the mannequins were sex dolls credible, but also said that the team "could have easily recognised their use using common sense and experience."

The league also handed FC Seoul a record fine over the incident.

Instagram | @resultadofinaldeportes

FC Seoul was fined 100 million won (about $81,000 U.S.), a decision the team accepted. Along with its apology, the team also promised it would not let such an incident occur again.

h/t: CNN, The Guardian