A professional soccer team in South Korea apologized after “mannequins” used as substitute fans during a match on Sunday turned out to be sex dolls.
K League 1 club Seoul said that the dolls, which had been dotted around stands off-limits to supporters due to the COVID-19 pandemic, had been ordered inadvertently after a “misunderstanding” with the supplier.
Earlier this month, the K League became the first major soccer league to hold matches since the start of the pandemic, with the season’s opening game watched by a worldwide audience of fans, but Seoul’s attempt to bring a touch of realism to Sunday’s match against Gwangju backfired after social media users noticed that the mannequins looked more like sex dolls.
Some pointed out that several were holding posters carrying the name of popular live-streamer B.J. Chaero — reportedly the physical inspiration for the dolls’ design — according to the Koreaboo Web site.
The club said that it had been the victim of a mix-up and that it had checked with the supplier and received assurances that the dolls were not intended for sexual use.
Photographs taken at the stadium showed about 10 dolls spaced out among seats in front of life-size cardboard cutouts of the team’s players.
“We would like to apologize to the fans,” Seoul wrote in a statement on Instagram. “We are deeply sorry. 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.”
Several social media users were not convinced by the explanation.
“There must have been a countless number of people involved in getting that approved, shipped, dressed and seated,” Koreaboo quoted one as saying. “In that process, no one thought to question the visuals of these mannequins?”
The Sports Seoul Web site said that with so many overseas fans following K-League matches, “there are concerns this will bring international disgrace.”
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