Ronaldo’s absence from Juventus’ preseason friendly in Seoul last week is the subject of an increasingly acrimonious dispute between the Serie A team, the Korean Professional Football League (K League), the event organizer and soccer fans in the country.
The Portuguese star was contracted to play for at least 45 minutes of last Friday’s contest against the K-League All-Stars, according to the K-league.
Instead Ronaldo spent the entire game on the bench to the dismay of many of the 66.000 fans that went to the match.
At a media conference after the game, Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri justified the decision not to play the Portuguese international because he ‘was very tiered, so we decided to rest him”.
“He wasn’t 100% fit due to muscle fatigue and we concluded that it would be best for him to rest”.
However, some South Korean fans are now pursuing a group lawsuit against the event organizer.
Myung-an, the South Korean law firm representing those fans is seeking legal action against The Fasta, the sports marketing agency responsible for the event with Juventus, for a breach of contract is seeking a full refund of ticket prices for participants.
“The firm decided to go ahead with this lawsuit as football fans ourselves without retaining fee to prevent the recurrence from happening again”, said Myung-an lawyer Kim Hun-Ki.
“Indignation and disappointment”
After the match The Fasta, which is accused of falsely advertising that Ronaldo would be playing for at least 45 minutes and said she found out that the 34-year-old would not take part 10 minutes into the second half.
The K League issued an apology to fans over Ronald’s absence from the field, also announcing plans to also lodge a lawsuit against The Fasta, according to the League’s public relations team.
In a statement sent to CNN on Thursday, the K League says it feels “indignation and disappointment”, after it failed to receive an apology for the player’s failure to take the field, adding that it felt “cheated by Juventus for its shamelessness”.
“For fans in South Korea, Ronaldo’s appearance isn’t just about a contract, but trust in Juventus with 121 years of its rich history. The fans expected Juventus to offer an explanation and a sincere apology for the reason of discrediting the trust so easily, but the Juventus club even gave up its last hope”.
Juventus told CNN on Thursday it had no comment regarding the spat, though according to the K League statement sent to CNN the Italian club has told the Korean organization that its “legal team will manage any alleged breach of contract issues”.
According to Reuters, Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli responded on Wednesday, insisting his club did nothing wrong and offered no apology for Ronaldo’s absence.
Tickets for the highly-anticipated soccer match sold out within two hours, while the most expensive premium zone seats, commanding a price of $337, sold out in fifteen minutes of ticket sales going live, according to Ticketlink, the designated ticket sales site for the march.
South Koreans fans, who spent a small fortune on tickets specifically to get a glimpse of Ronaldo, were left sorely disappointed by a match that was already delayed due in part of Juventus’ late arrival in the country from China.