South Korean court awards fans compensation for friendly Cristiano Ronaldo sat out

Cristiano Ronaldo did not play for Juventus in a friendly, causing a ruckus. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

Two South Korean soccer fans are entitled to compensation from the match organizer after Cristiano Ronaldo did not play in Juventus’ match in the country last summer, a court ruled Tuesday.

The district court ruled that each fan shall receive a total of $312 from the organizer, The Fasta Inc., Reuters reported.

The fans filed a lawsuit against the local South Korean agency when Ronaldo did not play in a friendly against a K-League All-Star team in Seoul last July. Per the lawsuit, fans were told Ronaldo would play at least 45 minutes. Rather, he stayed on the bench the entire match. It was a 3-3 draw.

"The Fasta misled and used the fans of Cristiano Ronaldo for their own benefit, said Kim Min-ki, the lawyer who filed the lawsuit, per the BBC.

"To the fans of Ronaldo, this is equivalent to losing the player whom they would have admired and supported their entire lives."

The court ruled The Fasta Inc. to pay each fan $58.95 for the ticket face price, $0.8421 for the ticket commission fee and $252.63 for “mental anguish,” Reuters reported. Kim said he also represents 87 other plaintiffs in various other cases connected to the match that haven’t concluded yet.

The 65,000 tickets for the match sold out in less than three minutes, the BBC reported, and unsurprisingly Ronaldo was featured in advertisements leading up to it. Fans chanted Lionel Messi’s name at the match as it became clear Ronaldo wouldn’t play and one fan flew from South Korea to Sweden to confront Ronaldo.

The K-League sent a letter of protest to Juventus for violating the contract, per the BBC. Juventus said the star sat due to medical advice about muscle fatigue. The match started an hour late due to the team’s late arrival from the airport.

In August, South Korean police raided The Fasta Inc.’s offices as part of a fraud inquiry. A criminal complaint alleged the agency swindled $4.9 million worth of ticket sales by not warning fans Ronaldo might not play.

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