South Korea's pro football governing body, the K League, on Thursday demanded Juventus FC apologize for breach of contract for benching Cristiano Ronaldo in an exhibition match in Seoul last week.
Earlier this week, the K League sent a letter of protest to the Italian football club over its irresponsible conduct during the friendly held at Seoul World Cup Stadium on Friday.
The game between Juventus and the K League All-Stars ended in a 3-3 draw, but it caused angry reactions from South Korean fans, who nearly filled the 66,000-seat stadium to see the Portuguese star play. However, Ronaldo remained on the bench for the duration of the 90 minute game.
At the same time, the kick-off was delayed for about an hour as the Italian champions arrived at the stadium late due to their tight schedule.
In this file photo taken July 26, Juventus FC forward Cristiano Ronaldo (left) leaves the pitch after an exhibition match between Juventus and the K League All-Star team at Seoul World Cup Stadium in Seoul. (Yonhap)
The K League said it received a reply from Juventus on Wednesday. In the letter, the Italian club said it gave a "great performance" and Ronaldo did not play on the recommendation of medical staff.
"The key point of the current situation is that Ronaldo did not play even for a minute despite the contract guaranteeing he would play for at least 45 minutes," the K League said in a statement.
"However, Juventus' reply did not offer any apology nor did it explain what exactly happened that day."
The league said it feels "disappointed and cheated" by Juventus, which had demanded the K League reduce the length of the game to two halves of 40 minutes each.
The South Korean pro football organization also refuted the Italian side's claims that external conditions forced them to arrive late, saying, "The issue of traffic congestion certainly cannot be an excuse."
It continued, "The K League clearly registers its profound indignation and disappointment over Juventus' irresponsible behavior and manners, and we strongly urge Juventus to offer a sincere apology and explain the reason for Ronaldo's no-show."
The fallout from the non-appearance of the 34-year-old Juventus forward has been snowballing in South Korea, with some fans lodging lawsuits against the local sports agency that organized the exhibition match.