South Korean Soccer Club Apologizes for Sex Dolls


Ronn Torossian, CEO & Founder, 5W Public Relations

South Korea was one of the first countries to start playing professional sports again after the first wave of COVID-19. Like most countries who considered this move, league officials opted to host games without fans in the stands. However, some decided it would be better to have something in the stands to make it feel more like a professional game. Some clubs tried robots, others tried mannequins, but South Korean soccer team FC Seoul had a different idea. They filled the stands with sex dolls and, yes, people noticed.

Eagle-eyed fans were the first to take a second look at the dolls in the stands during a match between FC Seoul and Gwangju, part of South Korea’s top soccer championship. Upon closer inspection, fans decided that they weren’t just standard mannequins. 

Immediately, fans jumped on social media to share their discovery, causing many others to tune in and offer their own opinions. Some of these fans pointed out that certain anatomy on the mannequins certainly made them stand out from department store models. Some fans laughed it off, though many others were less than amused.

Criticism started pouring in, prompting the soccer club to issue a response in the form of an apology. Fittingly, they put this message out on Instagram: “Regarding the cheer mannequins that were installed during the game on the 17th, we sincerely apologize for causing deep concern to the fans…” The statement went on to say that the club had requested mannequins that appeared more lifelike than they had been told these models were “not at all related to adult products.”

The club insisted their staff had worked on good faith with the company that provided the mannequins, saying they “went through the confirmation process that they were not adult products several times…” However, despite offering this excuse, a club spokesperson said they were without excuse, “Regardless of the reason, we apologize for causing great concern to the fans who love and cheer for FC Seoul.”

This is an interesting response. While accepting responsibility, the club also attempted to shift the blame onto the company that provided the mannequins for the matches. This dichotomy is not something fans missed. In most reports, and in most comments on social media, the team is taking the brunt of the blame for the incident, even though the company that provided the mannequins clearly had a part to play in the incident.

In the end, FC Seoul definitely managed to get some eyes on their product. Though the incident did cost the team about $81,300 in fines passed down by their league. While many leagues around the world have started up to empty stands and relatively tepid media response, South Korean soccer is headline news worldwide.

Ronn TorossianAbout the Author: Ronn Torossian is the CEO and Founder of 5W Public Relations. 5W PR is a leading digital pr and influencer marketing agency.