K-League demands Juventus apologise

Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo (far left) on the bench during the pre-season friendly match against a K-League all-star team at the Seoul World Cup Stadium in Seoul last week. The club have said that he did not feature owing to medical reasons, having p
Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo (far left) on the bench during the pre-season friendly match against a K-League all-star team at the Seoul World Cup Stadium in Seoul last week. The club have said that he did not feature owing to medical reasons, having playing 48 hours earlier in Nanjing, China.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

League slams Juve for not explaining Ronaldo no-show; club insist it was for 'muscle fatigue'

TURIN • The K-League yesterday said that it felt cheated by Juventus' refusal to apologise for star forward Cristiano Ronaldo sitting out a pre-season friendly in Seoul last week.

The Portugal captain was contracted to play at least 45 minutes against an all-star team from the league, according to event organisers. But he was advised to rest by the club's medical staff owing to "muscle fatigue", having played 48 hours earlier in Nanjing, China.

On Wednesday, Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli rejected allegations that the Italian champions had acted irresponsibly.

In a letter sent to K-League president Kwon Oh-gap, he insisted the club had no intention to show "disregard for fans", nor did they "bring disrepute" to the country.

However, the league yesterday issued a strongly-worded statement, claiming his response was filled with "untruth and deception" before demanding an apology.

The organisation said: "K-League clearly registers our profound indignation and disappointment to Juventus' irresponsible behaviour and manners.

"We strongly urge Juventus to offer a sincere apology and explain the reason for Ronaldo's no-show. The key point... is that Ronaldo did not play even for a minute contrary to the contract guarantee that he would play for at least 45 minutes.

A TOTAL LET-DOWN

Ronaldo did not play even for a minute contrary to the contract guarantee that he would play for at least 45 minutes.

K-LEAGUE, on Juve breaching the contract.

"However, Juventus' reply did not offer any apology nor did it explain what exactly happened that day."

The K-League also branded Juventus' assertions that a delay at the airport and heavy traffic en route to the stadium had forced the match to kick off later than scheduled as a fabrication.

"Juventus' claim that it took roughly 1hr 50min to exit the airport proved to be a lie," the statement read. "It... took only 26 minutes to go through immigration for all 76 (members of the) Juventus delegation and it was verified by the Korea Immigration Service.

 
 

"It is obvious to say that the club dis-valued South Korea and neglected the current situation (which) originated from Juventus' irresponsible behaviour."

The incident has led irate fans to pursue legal action to seek compensation for the cost of the tickets and "mental anguish" caused.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 02, 2019, with the headline 'K-League demands Juventus apologise'. Print Edition | Subscribe