The ‘prohibition clause against former team members’ inserted in the process of trade agreement between the professional volleyball women’s women’s division Pepper Savings Bank and GS Caltex for libero Oh Ji-young (35) may have violated the contents of the existing contract. Controversy is expected.
Both clubs violated the rights of the players guaranteed in the document, and the Korean Volleyball Federation (KOVO), which is responsible for management and supervision, seems to have approved it without issue.
On the 26th, KOVO said in response to Yonhap News’ inquiries regarding Oh Ji-young’s trade, “The contents of the contract were approved after determining that they did not fall under the explicit grounds for prohibition of discrimination, and we will receive a clear authoritative interpretation through inquiries from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.”
In June 2021, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism prepared a ‘professional sports standard contract’ to protect the rights and interests of players and create a fair contract culture, and then announced it as an administrative rule.
At the time, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism introduced the contract through a process of collecting opinions, and currently domestic professional sports clubs, including professional volleyball, are contracting with players with a ‘standard contract’ for each league.
The trade between Pepper Savings Bank and GS Caltex may violate Article 4 (obligations of the club) 3 of the standard contract.
In that article, it is written that ‘the club shall not engage in discriminatory acts such as excluding players from games and training for reasons such as race, nationality, region of origin, school of origin, appearance, etc., other than ability as a professional sports player’.
This means that external factors will be excluded and opportunities to participate in games and training will be given based on objective abilities such as injuries and skills of players.
Although the clause only lists general examples of discrimination, such as racial issues, it can also be interpreted as discriminatory behavior to deprive players of the opportunity to play for the benefit of the club.
The contents of the agreement between the two clubs go against the purpose of introducing a standard contract to guarantee the rights of players and may violate the contract.
This trade also seems to have violated Article 19 (Trade) Clause 1 of the contract.
In the related clause, it is stated that ‘the club shall not enter into a trade contract under conditions less favorable to the player than this contract unless there are special circumstances’.
Oh Ji-young had to play the rest of the season under the unfavorable condition of being deprived of the GS Caltex game due to the trade.
As a result, he was infringed on his basic rights as a player, such as obtaining free agent qualifications and competing for personal record titles.
Only two teams benefited. Pepper Savings Bank, which had fallen into a losing streak, succeeded in strengthening its power, and GS Caltex came to digest the league relatively favorably.
GS Caltex benefited from Pepper Savings Bank’s use of Oh Ji-young only in matches against other teams, excluding GS Caltex.
KOVO said, “The contents of the agreement between the two clubs did not fall under the explicit prohibition of discrimination in Article 4, Paragraph 3 of the standard contract, and it was judged that there was no regulation prohibiting this,” and “However, in terms of protecting the rights of players, there may be a gap.” We want to receive a clear authoritative interpretation through inquiries from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.”
“Based on the results, we will discuss the direction of development with the clubs, such as quickly enacting and revising the rules,” he said. 스포츠토토
Regarding the violation of Article 19, Paragraph 1, he replied, “‘Unfavorable conditions for players’ have been recognized as a provision to prevent financial damage to players.”
KOVO’s explanation limited to financial issues is a narrower interpretation than the purpose of the standard contract introduced in the broad framework of protecting the rights and interests of players.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism prohibits discriminating against players for reasons other than ability, in addition to the prohibited grounds listed in the contract, and it is also comprehensively specified in the contract.
These contents are well shown in the commentary on the professional sports standard contract announced by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in September 2021.
Regarding the purpose of the anti-discrimination clause, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said, “It is an article to emphasize the importance of fairness in sports and protection of human rights.”
Some say that it will not be a big problem if Oh Ji-young, the trader, accepts the terms of the trade.
However, an accurate authoritative interpretation is needed in that this issue is not a matter of one individual and that similar violations of the rights of players may recur.
It is also a problem directly related to the operation of the league. For example, it is theoretically possible to make an unreasonable order to put the player in a specific team and game while trading.
KOVO is also aware of the problem internally.
KOVO said, “There is no regulation regarding player participation in the trade, so we notified both clubs that this trade does not violate the regulations.” “he said.
Pepper Savings Bank recruited Oh Ji-young, who played for GS Caltex, in return for the 2024-2025 season rookie draft first round nomination right on the 26th of last month, after losing 16 consecutive losses after the opening.
At the time, GS Caltex requested the insertion of a clause prohibiting Oh Ji-young from participating in GS Caltex matches for the remainder of the season, saying that the trade was not balanced, and Pepper Savings Bank responded.
The detailed trade agreement, which was not initially disclosed, was announced on the 23rd, when the two teams faced off.