Two South Korean volleyball players left for Greece to continue their athletic careers after being ousted from the national team as well as their club due to claims of bullying.
Twins Lee Jae-yeong and Da-yeong were spotted Saturday night at Incheon Airport ready to fly to Greece with their mother. They were leaving to join PAOK Volleyball Club in Thessaloniki.
The twin Lees stayed silent and did not respond to reporters’ questions when passing through immigration. Their mother was spotted calling to the twins to “keep your head up” and “pull yourself together.”
The twins’ departure was approved earlier after world volleyball-governing body FIVB confirmed the transfer for the players. They obtained their work visas for Greece last week after being interviewed at the Embassy of Greece in Seoul.
The international volleyball federation overrode the Korea Volleyball Association’s decision to not grant the certificate required to make an international transfer.
The Korean volleyball authority refused to grant the certificate citing its rules on prohibiting international transfers to players who have committed violence, sexual harassment, rigged game results or evaded military service.
The transfer granted by the FIVB for the twins is valid until May 31.
The sisters, who were previously the biggest stars in the women’s V-League in Korea, were suspended in February for physically, verbally and emotionally bullying former school teammates. They were also suspended from the Heungkuk Life Insurance Pink Spiders.
The Lees have also been indefinitely banned from the Korean national team and are barred from ever holding coaching positions in the country.
They have been gaining attention again recently after Lee Da-yeong’s ex-husband alleged he was physically and verbally abused during their marriage. Lee Da-yeong denied the allegation, refuting that her ex-husband made unreasonable demands in filing for divorce.
Attention was focused on whether the sisters would make a statement concerning the scandal before leaving for Greece, but the two players made no comment. Many had demanded the Lees sincerely address the allegations before exiting Korea.
The sisters told Yonhap News Agency in a phone call prior to their departure that they regret what they did and are willing to take responsibility for their “wrongful actions.”
At PAOK, the Lees are expected to make about one-sixth of what they received from the Pink Spiders. While with the Korean club, Lee Jae-yeong was reported to have received 400 million won ($338,000) a year in salary and another 200 million won in bonuses, while Lee Da-yeong received 300 million won in salary and 100 million won in bonuses.
It is not known when the sisters will start playing official matches for PAOK. The Greek volleyball league started on Oct. 9.
By Ko Jun-tae (email@example.com