Lausanne, Switzerland, March 2, 2016 - FIVB President Dr. Ary S. Graça F° is among the world’s volleyball fans who are counting down the days until the start of the FIVB Volleyball World League 2016.
The World League will come to a conclusion in Poland over the weekend July 13-17 with the Group 1 Finals. The Group 2 Finals take place a week earlier in Matosinhos, Portugal a week earlier from July 9-10. Group 3 will reach a conclusion in Frankfurt, German over the weekend of July 1-3.
“The FIVB Volleyball World League 2016 is the biggest and best yet and I am looking forward to seeing the exhilarating action unfold as we build up to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games,” Dr Graça said.
“This is the 27th edition of the World League,” he continued. “It is the FIVB’s annual flagship event for men’s national teams and this year fans will be treated to a brand new format which features the participating nations being split into three groups of 12 teams in a similar formula to the World Grand Prix.
“This change not only helps us fit our two premier annual volleyball tournaments into a tight “Olympic year” calendar, it also provides a platform for a far more intense competition in the battle to be crowned World League champions.”
France will lead the way in Group 1, following their double of Group 1 and Group 2 success in 2015, victories they added to with the European Championship crown later in the year. Pushing them hard will be London 2012 Olympic champions Russia, FIVB world champions Poland and Rio 2016 hosts, Brazil.
Among the new teams are Qatar, who will be led for the first time by the newly-appointed coach Roberto Piazza. They will compete in Group 3, along with Germany, bronze medallists at the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship, Poland 2014.
“The World League has grown considerably over the years and this is testament to the increased popularity and accessibility of volleyball around the world,” Dr Graça added. “From eight teams in its debut season in 1990, the World League has well and truly blossomed – the 36 teams participating in 2016 provide a benchmark for years to come.
Bigger and better
“The recent expansion in the number of teams also makes for a more attractive spectacle for fans and sponsors. When you can reflect on success stories such as France last year, who won Group 2 before they stunned the volleyball world a week later by clinching a maiden World League title. Egypt were also a shining example to the world as they swooped the Group 3 crown. Their achievement is a credit to the development of volleyball in the region as well as the opportunities given to teams at the international level through tournaments such as the World League.”
Volleyball fans can again be assured that they will be watching the best of the volleyball, all the while knowing that the FIVB is finding new and inventive ways to ensure it is among the leading annual sports events.
“We are constantly looking for new ways to evolve and to enhance spectator appeal to the point that the World League is now among the trend setters for dynamic sporting entertainment,” Dr Graça said. “In 2013, the FIVB’s innovative Challenge System was introduced for the first time in a World League match between Poland and USA and it is now a regular feature for all Group 1 matches.
“Improved live streaming, fan engagement and player presentation are also key ingredients and we will continue to innovate and inspire in order to reach our goal to become the number one family entertainment sport in the world.
“I wish the best of luck to all teams involved and look forward to an outstanding five weeks of action.”