The top-flight South Korean side has apologised after fans accused them of using sex dolls in the stands. They insisted they were “premium mannequins” rather than sex dolls – but did admit they came from a supplier that produces sex toys.

Some of the dolls were holding signs advertising x-rated websites – despite pornography being banned in South Korea.

On Sunday, FC Seoul played their first home match of the K League season as per one of many measures designed to prevent a Covid-19 outbreak.

A company called Dalcom offered to fill some of the empty seats, and the club agreed. There were 30 mannequins – 28 of them female, and two of them male.

“They were supposed to take all the logos down before the game started, But there were several hairbands and logos left to be caught by public eye,” Dalcom director Cho Young-june said.

FC Seoul official Lee Ji-hoon told the BBC it didn’t do a background check on Dalcom, and didn’t realise they worked in the sex industry.

Mr Lee admitted he thought the dolls looked “very human” – but said it didn’t even enter his mind that they could be sex toys.

The 2020 K League season was supposed to begin in February but was delayed because of the virus outbreak. South Korea’s success in fighting the virus allowed football to resume sooner than almost everywhere else.

The K League was one of the few places for sports fans to get their fix – leading to increased global attention.

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