(Reuters) - South Korea’s K League said that it feels disappointed and cheated by Juventus over the Serie A club’s refusal to apologise for forward Cristiano Ronaldo sitting out a pre-season friendly in Seoul last week.
Ronaldo was contracted to play at least 45 minutes against the K League All Stars, according to event organisers, but was advised to rest by Juve’s medical staff due to “muscle fatigue” from a match played 48 hours earlier in Nanjing.
The K League, on Tuesday, sent a letter of protest to Juve over the alleged contract violation and Juve chairman Andrea Agnelli responded on Wednesday by denying that the Italian champions had acted irresponsibly, but did not apologise.
On Thursday, the K League said Juve’s response was filled with “untruth and deception” and demanded an apology.
“K League clearly registers our profound indignation and disappointment to Juventus’ irresponsible behaviour and manners, and we strongly urge Juventus to offer a sincere apology and explain the reason for Ronaldo’s no-show,” the league said.
“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. However, Juventus’ reply did not offer any apology nor did it explain what exactly happened that day.”
On Tuesday, a lawyer revealed irate soccer fans in South Korea were planning to pursue legal action to seek compensation for the cost of tickets and “mental anguish” after Ronaldo’s no-show.
The K League also rejected Juve’s claims that a delay at the airport and heavy traffic en route to the stadium had forced the match to kick off later than scheduled.
“Juventus’ claim that it took roughly 1 hour 50 minutes to exit the airport proved to be a lie,” the K League added.
“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 afterwards.
“It is obvious to say that the club disvalued South Korea and neglected the current situation (which) originated from Juventus’ irresponsible behaviour and manners including Ronaldo’s no-show.”
Reporting by Rohith Nair and Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge