‘Water bottle throwing’ Incheon fined 20 million won to close bleachers for 5 home games

Professional soccer K League 1 club Incheon United has been penalized by the Korea Football Association (KFA) for closing its stands for five home games following a mass water bottle throwing incident on the field by home fans.

The KFA held its eighth punishment committee on the afternoon of the 16th and ordered Incheon United to close its stands for five home matches and imposed a sanction of 20 million won ($15,000).

The punishment comes after Incheon’s 1-2 loss to FC Seoul in the 12th round of the Hana Bank K League 1 2024 at the Incheon Football Stadium on Nov. 11, when Incheon home fans threw dozens of water bottles en masse at Seoul players on the field, 홀덤사이트 causing Seoul’s Ki Sung-yueng to be hit by a flying water bottle.

“According to Article 20 (6) of the Laws of the Game, the home team is responsible for maintaining the safety and order of the home stadium before, during and after the match,” the federation said, explaining that the incident was considered serious because dozens of people were involved in throwing water bottles at the players, unlike past incidents where a few people threw water bottles.

As a result of the federation’s sanction, Incheon will play five home matches this month against Gwangju FC on May 25, Ulsan HD on May 29, Pohang Steelers on June 23, Gangwon FC on June 30, and Gimcheon Commerce on July 5.

The home supporters’ section (S section), which is about 5,000 seats out of the 18,159 seats in the Incheon Football Stadium, will be completely closed during this period.

The league also fined Seoul goalkeeper Baek Jong-beom 7 million won for “unsportsmanlike conduct towards spectators.

Baek raised his arms and pumped his fist in the air in victory at Incheon supporters immediately after the referee’s whistle blew to end the match, leading to a “water bottle throwing” incident by Incheon fans.

Incheon’s CEO Lee Jae-soo, marketing director Lee Jin-taek, and Seoul’s general manager Yoo Sung-young attended the two-hour and 40-minute hearing, where each club presented its side of the story. Baek Jong-beom was absent from the tribunal, citing club training.

“Baek Jong-beom (who triggered the water bottle throwing incident) is also subject to discipline, but to miss the punishment committee because of team training is a complete disregard for the dignity of the federation,” said Cho Nam-don, chairman of the federation’s punishment committee.

A Seoul club official said, “It’s definitely not intentional,” and explained, “There is usually a coordination process for the date and time of attendance, but this time, the attendance notice came unilaterally.”

“In this case, the fans threw water bottles in groups, and the players were unprotected and harmed,” said Lee Geun-ho, a member of the penalty committee.

KFA holds punishment committee for ‘water bottle throwing’

The penalty committee reviewed the match commissioner’s report and the results of the commissioner’s meeting, and decided on the level of discipline after reviewing the clubs’ statements and the commissioner’s on-site call.

“Although the penalty committee didn’t call me, I thought it was polite to apologize directly as the person in charge,” said Incheon CEO Lee Jae-soo. “I appeared at the penalty committee and apologized to all members of the K League, the Seoul team, and the Seoul fans. I apologized again, saying that I will find a path of self-reflection and repay them by creating a good support culture.”

Seoul president Yoo Sung-yu did not respond to further questions from reporters about his apology.

Baek Jong-beom, who was at the center of the bottle-throwing incident, bowed to an Incheon fan after the game on Nov. 11.

“From the beginning of the second half, they (Incheon supporters) raised their middle fingers at me and swore at me, and they kept swearing at my parents,” Baek said, before explaining his behavior that provoked the opposing supporters, adding, “I think it was because I was excited. I apologize,” he said.

Prior to the punishment, the Incheon club announced on the 13th that it would close the cheering section for the next two home games.

Incheon, which also received self-reports of water bottle throwers, said that 97 people had reported throwing water bottles in the four days leading up to the incident.

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