S. Korea’s pro football body sends protest letter to Juventus over Ronaldo benching

Cristiano Ronaldo (centre) sits on the team bench prior to Juventus’ friendly football match with Team K League in Seoul July 26, 2019. — AFP pic
Cristiano Ronaldo (centre) sits on the team bench prior to Juventus’ friendly football match with Team K League in Seoul July 26, 2019. — AFP pic

SEOUL, July 31 — South Korea’s pro football governing body, the K League, said yesterday that it has sent a letter of protest to Juventus FC for its breach of contract for benching Cristiano Ronaldo in an exhibition match in Seoul last week, Yonhap news agency reported.

On Friday, the friendly between the Italian champion and K League All-Stars was scheduled to start at 8pm, but the kick-off was delayed about one hour as the Italian team arrived at Seoul World Cup Stadium at 8.15pm.

Moreover, some 63,000 fans went home disappointed, as Ronaldo did not play in a 90-minute 3-3 draw.

The delay and the no-show of Ronaldo have caused angry reactions from Korean football fans who had anticipated the Portuguese playing on Korean soil for the first time in more than 10 years.

“We’ve sent a letter to Juventus to protest against the club’s breach of contract, including Ronaldo’s nonappearance,” Kim Jin Hyung, who leads the public relations team for the K League, said in a press briefing in Seoul.

The K League also sent documents to the Italian professional league, Serie A, and the Asian Football Confederation to describe Juventus’ violations, the K League official said.

“The kick-off time was delayed about an hour and Ronaldo did not play. That’s the problem. Juventus had been confident that they could hold the match on time despite their tight schedule,” Kim said.

Meanwhile, the pro football body is in talks with TheFasta, the agency responsible for the event with Juventus, to measure the damage for the breach of contract.

Seoul police yesterday launched a probe into the case after receiving a complaint from local fans that they were cheated by the event organiser, the Italian club and Ronaldo.

The plaintiffs claimed that they bought tickets as they believed the advertisements that the Portuguese football star would play and that his failure to appear in the game caused damage estimated at six billion won (RM209.3 million).

Some angry fans have also filed a damage suit against TheFesta with a local court in connection with the incident. — Bernama

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