Sports

Angry fans to sue after Ronaldo sits out Juventus friendly in Seoul

Soccer fans in South Korea are taking legal action to seek compensation after Cristiano Ronaldo failed to play in a friendly during Juventus' pre-season tour in Seoul last week.

Ronaldo had been contracted to play at least 45 minutes against K League All Stars, according to event organisers The Fasta Inc, but ultimately he sat out the entire game at a packed Seoul World Cup Stadium.

An online community was formed on South Korea’s Naver web portal to protest Ronaldo’s lack of participation, and two members reached out to lawyer Kim Min-ki to file a lawsuit against the match organisers.

“The betrayal and anger of the victims who seek compensation are first and foremost directed towards the corporation The Fasta. These feelings also stretch to the K-League, the Korea Football Association(KFA) and Juventus FC as they were involved in the event, and of course, Cristiano Ronaldo, the very person which this incident revolves around,” Kim said on Thursday (August 1) as he made a visit to the office of The Fasta in Seoul where no one answered his knocking.

The lawsuit is seeking compensation of 70,000 won ($59) per ticket, 1,000 won for the ticket commission fee, and 1 million won ($847) each for compensation for “mental anguish.”

“The special circumstance of this incident is that the company The Fasta misled and used the fans of Cristiano Ronaldo for their own benefit. To the fans of Ronaldo, this is equivalent to losing the player whom they would have admired and supported their entire lives,” Kim added.

The K League said on Tuesday (July 30) that it had sent a letter of protest to Juve for violating the contract but Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli on Wednesday (July 31) clarified his club’s position on the matter to K League President Kwon Oh-gap in a letter seen by Reuters.

“Every single player present in Korea… played the match, except one: Cristiano Ronaldo, who was obliged, according to our medical staff’s advice, to rest due to muscle fatigue after the Nanjing game (against Inter Milan) which was only 48 hours before the one in Seoul,” Agnelli wrote.

“Therefore, Mr President, I definitely reject your accusation of irresponsible behaviour, of arrogance, of disregard for fans, who we always honour.

“No one at Juventus wanted to bring disrepute to K League, Korea Football Association or Asian Football Confederation.”

(Production: Daewoung Kim, Heejung Jung, Minwoo Park)

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