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Soccer Team Fined $80K+ For Placing “Sex Dolls” In Empty Seats

The club FC Seoul apologized earlier this week for the snafu, which the K League said “deeply humiliated and hurt women fans.”

Human-sized sex dolls were taken to the seats for a soccer match between Seoul and Kwangju at the Korean Soccer Championship at the FIFA World Cup stadium to cheer on the Seoul Club team in South Korea on Sunday, May 17, 2020. | Reuters
Human-sized sex dolls were taken to the seats for a soccer match between Seoul and Kwangju at the Korean Soccer Championship at the FIFA World Cup stadium to cheer on the Seoul Club team in South Korea on Sunday, May 17, 2020. | Reuters

A South Korean soccer team has been fined more than $80,000 after being accused of using sex dolls instead of mannequins to fill an empty stadium during a recent match.

The club FC Seoul had devised the inventive idea to use “spectators” ahead of a match on May 17 that was played in an empty stadium amid coronavirus-related restrictions. But it appeared to backfire when fans watching the broadcast began claiming the lifeless humans were actually sex dolls. 

Some of the dolls, which were mostly women, reportedly displayed advertisements for adult toy manufacturers in a country where pornography is banned.

The club apologized for the snafu earlier this week, saying it was embarrassed, didn’t recognize the mannequins were sex dolls, and failed to do a background check on the supplier, the New York Times reported. But the K League still issued on Wednesday what’s been called a “record fine” of 100 won, or $81,000, according to ESPN. 

League officials accepted the team’s claim about a mixup, but said the team “could have easily recognized their use using common sense and experience,” according to The Guardian.
“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.

The team told CNN that it would “humbly accept” the decision. In its apology, the team said the mannequins “may have been made to look and feel like real humans but they are not for sexual use -- as confirmed by the manufacturer from the beginning."

"Our intention was to do something lighthearted in these difficult times. We will think hard about what we need to do to ensure that something like this never happens again,” the team continued. 

Fans expressed embarrassment online after the incident, saying the club jeopardized a chance to gain respect on an international stage. Whereas some have said the mixup has been blown out of proportion.

Other soccer teams around the world have resumed play with modifications as restrictions in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have been easing. The game in South Korea came as the country has been hailed as a success in containing the virus, despite a recent resurgence in infections.

Germany’s Bundesliga has returned to the field, but without in-person fans. Meanwhile, France’s major soccer league canceled its entire season.