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 Portuguese star 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. 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 (US$25) to 400,000 won ($338), sold out in just 2.5 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 Agence France-Presse (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." 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.