Geum Yi

Sports games in greater Seoul to be played without spectators

July 9, 2021

Professional sports games and Olympic football tuneup matches in the greater Seoul area will be played without spectators starting next week, under heightened social distancing rules in place in the region.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) and the Korea Professional Football League (K League) both announced Friday that games in Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi Province will be held behind closed doors.

This file photo from June 13, 2021, shows fans at a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game between the home team LG Twins and the Doosan Bears at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul. (Yonhap)
This file photo from March 21, 2021, shows fans at a K League 1 match between the home team Suwon Samsung Bluewings and FC Seoul at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, 45 kilometers south of Seoul. (Yonhap)
Members of the South Korean men's Olympic football team huddle around head coach Kim Hak-bum before their practice at the National Football Center in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, on July 5, 2021. (Yonhap)
Members of the South Korean men's Olympic football team stretch before their practice at the National Football Center in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, on July 6, 2021. (Yonhap)

This file photo from June 13, 2021, shows fans at a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game between the home team LG Twins and the Doosan Bears at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul. (Yonhap)

Earlier in the day, the government announced it will place Seoul and its nearby regions, covering Gyeonggi Province, under the toughest social distancing rules of Level 4, amid a recent surge in new coronavirus cases.

The new rules will take effect Monday for two weeks.

In the KBO, the no-fans rule will take effect Tuesday, as Monday is the designated off day in the league.

It will affect half of the 10-team league: the Doosan Bears, the LG Twins and the Kiwoom Heroes in Seoul, the SSG Landers in Incheon and the KT Wiz in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province.

In the top-division K League 1, five clubs will be affected: FC Seoul, Suwon Samsung Blueings, Suwon FC, Seongnam FC and Incheon United. There are four more teams in the greater Seoul area in the K League 2: FC Anyang, Ansan Greeners FC, Seoul E-Land and Bucheon FC.

The gates will be closed for Ansan Greeners FC’s home match against Gyeongnam FC on Monday. The new rule will be in place in the K League 1 starting with the FC Seoul-Incheon United match on Wednesday.

Earlier Friday, the Korea Football Association (KFA) said South Korea’s Olympic men’s football tuneup matches against Argentina next Tuesday and against France next Friday will be held without fans in the seats.

The first match is at Yongin Mireu Stadium in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province, and the next one is at Seoul World Cup Stadium in the nation’s capital.

The KFA has scrapped its plan to put tickets for both matches on sale Monday.

South Korea, coached by Kim Hak-bum, will depart for Japan on July 17. Their first group match is July 22 against New Zealand.