SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — Two twin South Korean women volleyball stars were suspended from the national team over allegations of school bullying in the latest sporting abuse scandal to hit the country, reports said Monday.
Volleyball is one of South Korea’s most popular spectator sports after the big three of baseball, golf and football.
Lee Jae-yeong and Lee Da-yeong, 24, both play for the Heungkuk Life Insurance Pink Spiders, the biggest women’s team in the country, and were instrumental in securing South Korea’s place at the Tokyo Olympics.
They were accused of bullying last week by an online poster claiming to be a former middle school teammate, who listed 21 allegations including physical violence, stealing money, and threatening with a knife.
At least four other victims endured similar abuse, the poster said.
The Lees admitted their “irresponsible behavior in the past” in an Instagram post and apologized.
Their club suspended them indefinitely on Monday.
“We are very sorry and feel deeply responsible for disappointing everyone who loves volleyball,” the Pink Spiders said in a statement.
“School violence is something that should never happen, and it cannot be tolerated for any reason.”
Hours later, the players were banned from the national team for an unspecified period, Yonhap news agency reported.