Lee twins careers now in the hands of the FIVB
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 now seems to be in the hands of the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB).
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 are not bound to the club's indefinite suspension any more. As effectively free agents, the sisters reportedly tried to signed a contract with the Greek club PAOK Thessaloniki but the Greek embassy requested an International Transfer Certificate (ITC) to issue their visas.
An ITC can be granted either by the Korea Volleyball Association or 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 has shown 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. However, some are saying that the process was unfair since they were banned from professionally playing volleyball even before legal disciplinary decisions were made.
The twin sisters have requested FIVB review their case.
Whether FIVB will approve of the twins’ transfer and issue an ITC without the approval of the Korea Volleyball Association is yet to be seen. There are past examples when FIVB has issued ITCs for Cuban athletes because they were unable to attain them from the communist government, but it is not a common practice.
Reports are saying that if an ITC is issued it will be around the last week of September. If FIVB does issue an ITC, the twins will be able to play in Greece.
BY YUN SO-HYANG [email@example.com]