WKBL in doldrums
The future of Women’s Korean Basketball League (WKBL) has been thrown further into doubt as no owner has turned up to claim the Shinsegae Coolcat, and the sudden resignation of its leadership complicates things.
Following a board of directors’ meeting on May 31, Commissioner Kim Won-kil stepped down, saying WKBL will continue to work on finding a new owner for the Coolcat regardless. However, as the executive director Kim Dong-wook and the secretary general Lee Myung-ho have also left WKBL, its doesn’t seem very optimistic with three empty seats in its leadership.
The WKBL is now rolling up its sleeves to resolve the issue but little progress has been made so far. As the season’s start approaches, the pressure is getting higher.
Shortly after the Coolcatsforced exit, hopes were raised for the team and the WKBL as Kim said some companies were showing an interest in taking over the team, hinting that the issue might pan out smoothly. In the end, however, no one took the deal and he decided to leave wrapping up his 13-year career in the WKBL’s top position.
With the decision, the 16 players of the Coolcat are left high and dry. Although the rest of the teams and Shinsegae promised that they would provide them with places to stay and practice as well as salary compensation, this support will end in two months. With that said, in the mean time, the team has to find a new owner to survive in the league.
Since Shinsegae said that the company had decided to disband the Coolcat, founded in 1998, and concerns were raised that the WKBL would have to operate the league with an odd number of clubs. This in turn causes lots of potential issues such as less rival matches and more unnecessary rest during the season.
Aside from the issue concerning the Coolcat breakup, a controversy over appointing Samsung Life’s manager Lee Ho-keun as the Olympic national team’s manager rather than last season’s winner Shinhan Bank S-Birds’ manager Lim Dal-shik had sent ripples through WKBL in April. The general practice in the sector had usually been that the winning team’s manager would lead the team to the Olympics.