In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, many professional sports teams around the world haven't been able to have fans in attendance for their games. Some have elected to use cutouts of people in the crowd as an effort to mimic fans being there. Leeds United, who plays in the EFL Championship league, learned the hard way that teams should be keeping an eye on the cutouts being printed.
The team encouraged their fans to send in photos to use as cutouts in the stands and someone sent in a picture of Osama Bin Laden. No one caught the headshot of Bin Laden when the photos were submitted and it was used during the team's game against Cardiff City last Sunday. The cutout of Bin Laden was into the front row of a section in Elland Road Stadium.
Tremendous effort from whoever actually paid English pounds just to have Bin Laden sit in the Leeds crowd. pic.twitter.com/XhEZd87Vqw— Elliot Hackney (@ElliotHackney) June 24, 2020
A Leeds representative apologized and informed the BBC that the team "will ensure there are no more offensive images" are used in future games.
On top of having to deal with the Bin Laden controversy, Leeds ended up losing the game, 2-0. This isn't the first time that there's been controversy surrounding teams placing replica fans in the stands for games. In May, soccer team FC Seoul apologized after they accidentally put sex dolls in the stands to pose as fans.