South Korea soccer club apologizes after using sex dolls as stand-in fans at empty stadium

South Korea soccer club apologizes after using sex dolls as stand-in fans at empty stadium
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A top South Korean soccer club is apologizing after using sex dolls as a substitute for human fans during a match over the weekend. 

The move from FC Seoul came just days after South Korea's K League became one of the first professional sporting leagues to resume its season. The K League renewed action on May 8 without live audiences following a delay due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

The club said in a statement Monday that it had placed the dolls around the stadium to replace human fans after receiving assurances from the supplier that they were ordinary mannequins, The New York Times reported.

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“We had tried to add some fun in the no-spectator match,” FC Seoul said. “But we have not checked all the details, and that is clearly our fault.”

During its match against Gwangju FC over the weekend, observers pointed out on social media that the mannequins placed throughout the stadium to replicate fans looked like sex dolls. Photos shared on Twitter showed several dolls sitting in seats in the largely empty stadium in front of cardboard cutouts of the players. 

One tweet noting that the dolls appeared to have branding from a manufacturer that makes adult goods quickly went viral. 

FC Seoul acknowledged in its apology that it had failed to do a background check with the company it purchased the dolls from. It also said that officials didn't initially notice the logos on the clothing had connections to the sex industry. 

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus forced professional leagues around the world to abruptly halt their season. Team sports have gradually returned in some countries, including Germany, South Korea and Taiwan, without live audiences.

To make up for that, many teams have gotten creative and placed cardboard cutouts of fans into mostly empty stadiums.