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Volleyball players accused of bullying likely to lose future coaching opportunities

All News 11:53 February 16, 2021

SEOUL, Feb. 16 (Yonhap) -- South Korean professional volleyball players recently suspended for bullying their former school teammates will face hurdles when seeking coaching opportunities in the future, the sport's national governing body said Tuesday.

Volleyball's V-League is reeling from a bullying scandal centered on two of the biggest stars in the women's division, Lee Jae-yeong and her twin sister Lee Da-yeong of the Heungkuk Life Pink Spiders. The 24-year-old sisters have admitted to allegations of physical, verbal and emotional abuse raised by their former middle school teammate, and their club has suspended them indefinitely. The Korea Volleyball Association (KVA) has also banned them from the national team until further notice.

This file photo from Oct. 21, 2020, shows Lee Jae-yeong (L) and Lee Da-yeong of the Heungkuk Life Pink Spiders during a women's V-League match against GS Caltex Kixx at Jangchung Arena in Seoul. (Yonhap)

On the men's side, Song Myung-geun and Sim Kyoung-sub, teammates on the OK Financial Group OKman, have also acknowledged their past bullying after one former student-athlete alleged that he had been assaulted by Song in high school and Sim in middle school. The two players have also been suspended by their club.

The playing careers of these four have been disrupted, and Cho Yong-goo, secretary general of the KVA, said on Tuesday it will also have a bearing on their pursuit of potential coaching careers.

"Players found to have been bullies in school will face grounds for disqualification when they try to earn coaching certificates," Cho said. "For anyone preparing to become a coach, having been penalized for bullying will present a major obstacle."

Also on Tuesday, the KVA banned Song, 27, and Sim, 29, from the national team, following its decision on the Lee twins from a day earlier.

Among the four, the absence of the twins will be felt more severely on the women's national team, which qualified for the Tokyo Olympics thanks in no small part to the contributions from Jae-yeong as an outside hitter and Da-yeong as a setter during the qualifying process.

Cho admitted that not carrying those two to the Olympics will deal a major blow to South Korea's chances of winning a medal, but added, "We needed to send a strong message that national team athletes will be severely punished for misconduct. We wanted to prevent similar incidents from happening again."

This Nov. 13, 2019, file photo provided by the Korean Volleyball Federation shows Sim Kyoung-sub (L) and Song Myung-geun of the OK Financial Group OKman during a men's V-League match against the Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance Bluefangs at Ansan Sangnoksu Gymnasium in Ansan, 40 kilometers south of Seoul. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

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