Football club fined by K League for fans’ bottle-throwing incident

Players from Incheon United and FC Seoul try to stop fans from throwing water bottles onto the field after their K League 1 match at Incheon Football Stadium in Incheon, Saturday. Yonhap

Korean football club Incheon United were slapped with a hefty fine Thursday after their supporters threw water bottles onto the pitch at a recent home match.The Korea Professional Football League (K League) ordered Incheon to pay a 20 million won ($14,870) fine following its disciplinary committee meeting. The club will also be forced to close off their home supporter section for the next five matches.About 100 Incheon supporters hurled plastic water bottles toward the field in the immediate aftermath of Incheon’s 2-1 loss to FC Seoul on Saturday at Incheon Football Stadium in Incheon. FC Seoul captain Ki Sung-yueng was struck by one bottle, even as players from both clubs tried to get angry fans to stop.FC Seoul goalkeeper Baek Jong-bum was later criticized for inciting the crowd by pumping his fist and screaming in front of the Incheon supporter section after the final whistle. The K League fined Baek 7 million won for his action.Baek did not attend Thursday’s hearing, citing its conflict with FC Seoul’s training session. The goalkeeper apologized to fans in his postmatch interview Saturday, while also revealing that he had lost his cool because several Incheon fans had given him the finger and badmouthed his parents throughout the second half.

The K League explained that Incheon United, per league rules, were responsible for maintaining safety and order at their home stadium before, during and after the match. While there have been other bottle-throwing cases in the South Korean league, the league office deemed the latest incident far more serious because it involved way more fans.Tempers flared throughout the physical match between the rival clubs, with Incheon’s Gerso Fernandes getting sent off late in the first half for a hard foul on FC Seoul’s Choi Jun.The next five home matches for Incheon United are: against Gwangju FC on May 25, Ulsan HD FC on May 29, Pohang Steelers on June 23, Gangwon FC on June 30 and Gimcheon Sangmu FC on July 5.According to Incheon, the home supporter section accounts for about 5,000 seats at the 18,159-seat Incheon Football Stadium.Incheon United had announced Tuesday they will carry out more strict security checks at their home stadium.They are also accepting emails from fans who would like to report themselves to the club for throwing bottles last weekend. The deadline is 11:59 p.m. Sunday. The team said 97 fans had admitted to their wrongdoing as of Thursday afternoon.Those who turn themselves in will avoid criminal charges and will only face a ban for Incheon matches.Incheon United said they plan to press charges against fans who are caught after the deadline for self-reporting and will seek compensation for financial losses that 메이저 the club will suffer due to such fans’ actions.