S.korean soc­cer fans to sue over Ron­aldo bench­ing

Global Times US Edition - - SPORTS -

More than 2,000 South Korean soc­cer fans will sue a sports agency after su­per­star Cris­tiano Ron­aldo stayed on the bench when his Ju­ven­tus side played a friendly in Seoul last week, a law firm said Mon­day.

The star Por­tuguese striker did not play a sin­gle sec­ond of the match against a K-league all-star team, ig­nor­ing ap­peals from the sell-out 65,000 crowd at the World Cup Sta­dium to lace up his boots.

With frus­tra­tion mount­ing some even chanted the name of his great Ar­gen­tine ri­val Lionel Messi.

When the game was first an­nounced, or­ga­niz­ers said the con­tract with Ju­ven­tus obliged Ron­aldo to play for at least 45 min­utes, prompt­ing many fans to splash out, ac­cord­ing to Seoul law firm Myun­gan.

Tick­ets – priced from 30,000 won ($25) to 400,000 won ($338) – sold out in just two and a half hours when they were re­leased on July 3.

“So far, more than 2,000 fans have con­tacted us to pur­sue the suit,” Myun­gan at­tor­ney Kim Hun-ki told AFP. “We plan to of­fi­cially file the suit on their be­half some­time next week, if the agency does not of­fer a con­crete plan to com­pen­sate the ticket hold­ers be­fore then.”

The Ital­ian team’s flight from Nan­jing in China was de­layed, so that they landed only five hours be­fore the sched­uled start, de­lay­ing kick­off by an hour.

Robin Zhang, CEO of The Festa, the Korean agency which ar­ranged the game, told lo­cal broad­caster SBS in tears that she had com­plained to Ju­ven­tus vice chair­man Pavel Nedved dur­ing the match.

He re­sponded, “‘I also hope Ron­aldo plays. But he says he doesn’t want to. I’m sorry there’s noth­ing I can do,’” she told SBS, adding that she will find “ways to com­pen­sate” ticket hold­ers.

Ron­aldo has been sub­jected to a back­lash on so­cial me­dia.

“He be­trayed the 60,000 au­di­ence and be­lit­tled us,” a Korean who at­tended the game posted on In­sta­gram. “I’m no longer a Ron­aldo fan.”

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