IBK release Cho without disciplinary committee backing
The Hwaseong Industrial Bank of Korea Altos on Monday officially released Cho Song-hwa, the player who walked out on the club last month following an argument with a former coach, but may still be liable to pay her salary for the rest of the season.
The controversy began when Cho walked out on Nov. 12 following an argument with head coach Seo Nam-won. On Nov. 12, Cho stopped turning up at Altos training or for games after a loss to the Korea Ginseng Corporation. The reason seemed to be due to a verbal argument Cho and Seo had during and after the match and in protest of the abusive environment created by Seo.
Following Cho’s departure, the IBK sacked Seo on Nov. 21 and assistant coach Kim Sa-ni took over as interim coach. Kim also accused Seo of verbally abusing her, although Seo has since denied all allegations.
Kim only lasted three matches at the helm of the volleyball club, resigning on Dec. 2 after a match against Korea Expressway Corporation Hi-pass. Instead, Kim Ho-chul was appointed as the club’s new manager on Dec. 8.
Despite the change in leadership, Cho didn't return to training, although IBK claim they asked her to come back for a game against Pepper Savings Bank on Nov. 23. Cho refused, and the club decided to release her, but the Korean Volleyball Federation (KOVO) blocked the attempt on the basis that Cho had not provided her consent.
At the IBK’s request, KOVO then called a disciplinary committee meeting on Dec. 2 to decide on Cho's future. The meeting was pushed back to Dec. 10 because Cho said she needed more time to prepare.
When the disciplinary committee did meet, it determined that there wasn't enough information available to establish that Cho had done anything wrong, refusing to discipline her. Despite that decision, the club has decided to go ahead and cut ties with Cho.
“Cho’s claims are vastly different from the club’s,” the IBK stated on Monday. “We have decided that Cho’s actions are a major violation of the contract regardless of the committee’s decision to withhold disciplinary action. We will release Cho as scheduled, according to the contract and KOVO regulations, regardless of the disciplinary committee’s decision.”
With the club choosing to release Cho without KOVO's backing, Cho may still be able to claim her remaining salary for the season if she is able to prove that IBK breached her contract.
Cho’s case is the third dispute in the history of KOVO to involve legal counsel. Cho’s lawyer claims that Cho was injured at the time and needed to take care of her own health for her career as an athlete and that she had also notified her club and head coach of her condition.
Despite the controversy, IBK will play their next match against the GS Caltex Kixx on Wednesday.
BY YUN SO-HYANG [firstname.lastname@example.org]