Lee twins may lack the paperwork to play in Europe
For twin volleyball players Lee Jae-young and Lee Da-young, who were suspended in February following accusations that they bullied their teammates while in school, the chance of starting a new career overseas is starting to look less and less likely.
The sisters were embroiled in a scandal in February, when a former middle school teammate of the pair accused them of being bullies when in school, listing 21 specific allegations including claims that one of the sisters threatened her with a knife. The Korean national team indefinitely suspended the pair and also banned them from ever holding coaching positions.
After their club the Heungkuk Life Insurance Pink Spiders' General Manager Kim Yeo-il reportedly told the board of directors of the Korea Volleyball Federation on June 23 that the two players would be registered for the 2021-22 V League season, public opinion flared up again with the backlash worsening as interviews of the alleged victims were reported. The club eventually dropped the plan to register the pair.
As they were no longer part of the Pink Spiders, the sisters were not be bound to the club's indefinite suspension any more and are effectively free agents. In June, Turkish agency CAAN reported that the Greek club PAOK was trying to sign the sisters.
In order for the sisters to transfer they would need an International Transfer Certificate (ITC) either from the Korea Volleyball Association or the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) under the assumption that all parties; the players, the original club, the potential club and the association, agree on their transfer.
However, the Korea Volleyball Association shows no intention of issuing the certificate quoting rules regarding international transfers that prohibit any players who have conducted violence, sexual harassment, manipulated game results or evaded military service from playing overseas.
Retrospective accusations of school bullying have become common in Korea, with a number of high profile celebrities accused of mistreating former classmates when they were young. Organizations have acted quickly to punish the perpetrators amid considerable backlash from members of the public who think that their success sets a bad example.
The possibility of the sisters acquiring a certificate from FIVB is also slim because it is uncommon for FIVB to issue an ITC without the approval of the Korea Volleyball Association. There are past exceptions when FIVB issued ITCs for Cuban athletes because they were unable to attain them from the communist government.
“There are set rules and regulations,” a Korean Volleyball Association official reportedly said. “It doesn’t make sense that FIVB would just disrupt the process and issue them an ITC. There weren’t any inquiries from the Greek club either. There only are stories that PAOK are trying to sign a contract but nothing actually proceeded.”
“If they actually try to proceed, we plan to make it clear that we do not agree and that it is against the rules to do so. And if that happens, there could possibly be a dispute around the matter but in any case, FIVB will not issue an ITC without going through any of this process.”
BY YUN SO-HYANG [email@example.com]