Kim Yeon-kyung (34, Heungkuk Life Insurance), who is leading the V-League box office, is on the verge of acquiring the first free agent (FA) qualification in Korea. Having played in 13 games this season, he will be eligible for free agency after the end of the season if he plays only two more games.
The Korea Volleyball Federation (KOVO) stipulates that if the business trips every season are more than 40% of the entire regular league, it is 스포츠토토 regarded as one season, and FA qualification is acquired when five seasons (high school graduates join six seasons) are met. Accordingly, Kim Yeon-kyung meets the FA requirements by playing 15 games, 40% of the total number of games (36 games) this season.
When Kim Yeon-kyung obtains FA qualification, the feeling is bound to be different. In a recent interview, he showed a sour reaction, saying, “Even if you qualify for FA, nothing will change much,” but in fact, Kim Yeon-kyung and FA are inseparable. He went through twists and turns because of the ‘local rule’ FA regulations.
After graduating from Hanil Computer Girls’ High School, he wore the uniform of Heungkuk Life Insurance as the overall top pick in the 2005-2006 season, and after playing four seasons, he moved on loan to JT Marvelous in Japan. He initially dreamed of playing on the stage in Italy, but after going through Japan, he aimed to advance to Europe. After playing for two seasons in Japan, he made his Turkish debut and became a world-class player.
It was after the end of the 2011-2012 season that the problem arose. There was a sharp difference in perspective over Kim Yeon-kyung’s identity. The Heungkuk Life Insurance team insisted that it be released as a free agent only after playing 6 seasons in Korea, and Kim Yeon-kyung confronted that he was a free agent since all 7 seasons had passed, including the rental status.
While the club’s ‘right to manage players’ and the player’s ‘right to free transfer’ were in conflict, the club applied for voluntary withdrawal notice to KOVO, and the Volleyball Association, which issues the International Transfer Agreement (ITC), is the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) requested an interpretation of FA status. When FIVB concluded that ‘Kim Yeon-kyung is a player from Heungkuk Life’, Kim Yeon-kyung immediately held a press conference at the National Assembly and appealed to public opinion, saying, “I want to play on the international stage.” Eventually, even the political world intervened, and the situation escalated into a wave.
This situation, which continued until the following year, was the active effort of the Fenerbahce (Turkiye) club, which signed a contract with Kim Yeon-kyung, and the FIVB raised Kim Yeon-kyung’s hand again, laying the foundation for him to play abroad. Since then, in the V-League, the rules for overseas expansion have been revised, such as including the period spent on loan in the FA qualification period. However, it was not applied retrospectively.
It was already 10 years ago. Kim Yeon-kyung returned to Heungkuk Life Insurance in the 2020-2021 season and filled the 5th season, but one season was still lacking. After moving to the Chinese stage at the end of last year, he re-signed with Heungkuk Life Insurance this June, playing for the 6th season and being able to enjoy free agency status after 17 years of joining the professional team.
Kim Yeon-kyung will be at the center of the issue once again when the season is over. Rumors are already circulating about his stay or transfer. This is why attention is focused on Kim Yeon-kyung’s move to become the ‘free body’ she so wanted.