With no offers, Cho Song-hwa unable to finish V League season

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With no offers, Cho Song-hwa unable to finish V League season

Cho Song-hwa arrives at a disciplinary committee meeting at the KOVO office in western Seoul on Dec. 10. [YONHAP]

Cho Song-hwa arrives at a disciplinary committee meeting at the KOVO office in western Seoul on Dec. 10. [YONHAP]

 
Cho Song-hwa, the Hwaseong Industrial Bank of Korea Altos player that walked out on the club after an argument with the former head coach, will not be able to play for the rest of the 2021-22 V League.
 
The deadline for Cho’s registration was Tuesday, and since no club offered her a contract, the Korean Volleyball Association (KOVO) announced Tuesday that Cho will not be able to play the rest of the season.
 
On Dec. 13, IBK announced that the club had decided to terminate Cho's contract following controversies that had begun on Nov. 12, when Cho stopped turning up at Altos training sessions and games after a loss to the Korea Ginseng Corporation, apparently due to a verbal argument Cho and former head coach Seo Nam-won 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. Kim Ho-chul was appointed as the club's new manager on Dec. 8.
 
This is the first time Kim Ho-chul takes the helm of the women's volleyball club. After playing 18 years of professional volleyball himself, Kim Ho-chul started his coaching career in 1995, including a 12-year stint coaching for the mens' Cheonan Hyundai Capital Skywalkers. 

 
Despite the change in leadership, Cho didn't return to training, though 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 KOVO blocked the attempt on the basis that Cho had not provided her consent.
 
At 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 there wasn't enough information available to establish that Cho had done anything wrong and refused to discipline her. In spite of the decision, the club decided to go ahead and cut ties with Cho, and four days later KOVO listed Cho as a free agent.
 
Cho's case is the third dispute in the history of KOVO to involve legal counsel. Cho may be able to keep her contract with IBK if she successfully applies for an injunction in court which would nullify her termination of contract and require the club to pay her remaining salary. But, even if that happens, it is unlikely that Cho will be able to compete this season as IBK expressed their adamant refusal to have Cho on their team.

BY YUN SO-HYANG [yun.sohyang@joongang.co.kr]
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