South Korea: Ronaldo on the bench, justice orders to compensate fans

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Seoul | A South Korean court on Friday ordered a local promoter to compensate fans who had not seen Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo in action on the lawn, during a friendly match in Seoul in 2019.

Despite repeated calls from the 65,000 spectators who came to fill a stadium in Seoul in July 2019, Ronaldo remained resting on the bench during a confrontation between Juventus and an all-star K-League team (3- 3), the South Korean Championship.

However, “the defendant had a contractual obligation to ensure that Ronaldo plays, except in unforeseen circumstances,” said the Seoul Central District Court on Friday, according to the South Korean news agency Yonhap.

The court ruled that match promoter The Fasta should reimburse half the ticket price and an additional 50,000 won (€ 37) to each of the 162 plaintiffs who sued him.

The Fasta had indeed insisted on the participation of the Portuguese striker and the tickets, the price of which ranged from 30,000 to 400,000 won (22 euros to 301 euros), were sold in less than three minutes.

But now, the medical staff had finally recommended that he remain at rest because of muscle fatigue.

The supporters who had mainly come to see the five-time Ballon d’Or suffered from “emotional distress” according to justice, the news agency reported.

No action has been taken against Ronaldo or his club.

This verdict follows that, last February, of the Incheon District court which had forced the promoter to pay 282 euros to two fans who had accused him of false advertising.

The promoter was accused of having defrauded some 6 billion won (4.5 million euros) from ticket sales, assuring that in the contract with Juve there was a clause ensuring the presence of the Portuguese star on the pitch during at least 45 minutes.

The anger over the Portuguese’s absence on the pitch reached the general public, favoring the creation of a phrase, “act like Ronaldo”, which refers to someone who does not keep his promises.

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