Police raid agency involved in Ronaldo fiasco

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Police raid agency involved in Ronaldo fiasco

Seoul police raided TheFasta in Gangnam District, southern Seoul, on Thursday, and two other organizations involved in an exhibition game between Italian football club Juventus and the K League All Stars which spurred controversy when football star Cristiano Ronaldo failed to play.

TheFasta, issued its first apology later that day. “As the host, we do not want to revert our responsibilities and we will not avoid the situation that we are in,” it said in a statement sent to media outlets. “We have sent an official complaint to Juventus for their breach of contract and we are preparing to reach an agreement on the matter.”

On Monday, police placed a travel ban on TheFasta CEO Robin Jang and summoned two suspects from K League, Korea’s professional football governing body, and Seoul World Cup Stadium in Seoul.

TheFasta, the agency that organized, advertised and sold tickets to the event, “actively promoted the sale of high-priced tickets based on the information that Ronaldo would play for over 45 minutes,” according to a law firm in Suwon, Gyeonggi, which is planning to sue the agency. Several other law firms have been gathering plaintiffs to sue the agencies involved with organizing the event, including TheFasta and K League.

Some 65,000 fans showed up for the exhibition match that was held at the Seoul World Cup Stadium on July 26, despite high-priced tickets that went up to 400,000 won ($328). Tickets sales alone are estimated to have amounted to 6 billion won. However, many fans who had high expectations of seeing Ronaldo in action were left disappointed when he was benched for the entire game.

After being criticized by both the media and football fans, Juventus stressed that they fulfilled all obligations “at the highest possible level” and cited Ronaldo’s muscle fatigue as the reason for his benching.

However, contradictory to the club’s explanation, an Instagram post uploaded by the football star upon his return to Italy showed him on a treadmill, further angering Korean fans.

It has been reported that TheFasta’s office has been empty since it began receiving the backlash.

Earlier this month, when reporters visited the office, contents-certified mail from the K League and a delivery slip from the managing office of Seoul World Cup Stadium were left in front of the vacant office. Information about partner companies and contact information for the agency that was previously posted on the agency’s official website was deleted.

Members of an online community formed to take legal action against organizations involved in the exhibition game protested in front of the Korea Football Association (KFA) headquarters in Jongno District, central Seoul, on Monday. “It looks like TheFasta has put the victims to the side and started their own penal sum party,” Kim Min-gi, the head lawyer who is representing members of the online community in their lawsuit against agencies involved in the so-called scam, said at the protest.

BY NAMGUNG MIN, JUNG MYUNG-SUK [jung.myungsuk@joongang.co.kr]
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