Lausanne, Switzerland, October 17, 2014 - The FIVB Beach Volleyball Commission discussed key proposals for the future of the sport in a two-day meeting at the headquarters of the International Volleyball Federation in Lausanne on Wednesday and Thursday. Forty participants including representatives from the five continental confederations were in attendance.
FIVB Beach Volleyball Commission President Mr Vicente Araujo opened the meeting, which was split into progress reports and workshops set up to discuss specific proposals related to the World Championships, sport regulations, rules and refereeing, the Continental Cup and the promotion of beach volleyball.
The Commission discussed the scheduling of events and considered issues related to the World Tour Grand Slam and Open events, including the attribution of wild cards, expanding qualifiers to 32 teams, putting measures in place to avoid last minute team withdrawals and the attribution of points for different events.
Discussions also covered the results of the tests carried out on the block and first touch rule, as well as spreading beach volleyball to a wider fan base by growing on-site and digital audiences, the aim being to further increase the popularity of the sport and attract growing numbers of spectators to all events.
All the Beach Volleyball Commission‘s proposals will be submitted to the next meeting of the FIVB Board of Administration.
2014 in review
FIVB Beach Volleyball Events Director Mr Angelo Squeo began the Commission with a review of the 2014 beach volleyball season, which is currently in progress. The 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour was the best ever edition of the competition both in terms of the prize money ($9.6m) made available to the athletes participating and in terms of the number and quality of the events featured in the competition. The Beach Volleyball Commission also gave their input on the beach volleyball calendar for 2015, which will be finalised by the end of October, and on the next steps for the 2014-16 Continental Cup, which will serve as one of the qualifying event for the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games in 2016.
The successful start to the 2014-16 Continental Cup illustrates the strong ongoing development of beach volleyball around the world, with the competition taking place across five continents and almost 200 national federations expected to participate in 73 tournaments worldwide. Beach Volleyball Commission President Mr Araujo paid tribute to the role played by the continental confederations in the development of the Continental Cup: “I would like to thank the confederations for their contributions to modern beach volleyball. Beach volleyball is now played all around the world, marking a significant growth in the universality of the sport and in its popularity.”
Each confederation shared a progress report on their plans for the Continental Cup, focusing on the competition format, the calendar of events and the number of countries and teams participating.
FIVB Executive Vice-President and Treasurer Dr. Amr M. Elwani underlined his satisfaction with the recent development of beach volleyball in Africa: “We now have several countries pioneering beach volleyball in Africa. This is a great benefit of the FIVB’s efforts to promote the sport on the continent. Clinics and tournaments and the development of coaches and referees continue to help the sport's progress. And I hope Africa will soon be at a beach volleyball event at the Olympics.”
FIVB 1st Executive Vice-President Cristóbal Marte Hoffiz also underlined the growing popularity of the sport in the NORCECA Confederation: “Beach volleyball is now spreading even to the smallest Caribbean islands and is proving to be very popular.”
Refereeing was also addressed by the Commission, as efforts to harmonise processes and to integrate referees from national federations where beach volleyball is developing are ongoing.
2015 World Championships
The Beach Volleyball World Championships in the Netherlands, which will take place in The Hague, Amsterdam, Apeldoorn and Rotterdam from June 26-July 5, will be one of the main highlights of the beach volleyball calendar in 2015. A progress report on the event was presented by Beach Volleyball Commission Member and the Netherlands Volleyball Federation General Secretary Mr Michel Everaert. The tournament will take place at outdoor venues in the four cities - including the famous Dutch cruise ship ‘SS Rotterdam’ in Rotterdam which was announced on Wednesday. Plans also include numerous side events, which will take place before and during the tournament. These will include school-based competitions, a trophy tour, a beach volleyball bus which will tour the country promoting beach volleyball, and a world record attempt with over 300 beach volleyball courts to be set up on Scheveningen beach, near the city centre of The Hague.
The Commission discussed how to further develop the Age-Category Beach Volleyball World Championships and the possible optimisation of the scheduling of these events. It heard how the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing boosted new generations of athletes in many countries, with 72 teams and 52 countries participating and each confederation maximising benefits through dedicated qualification routes.
A report on ongoing developments in marketing and televising of beach volleyball events was presented. TV and New Media Commission President Mr Fernando Lima spoke of the importance of enhancing marketing and communications around the sport of beach volleyball by focusing in on the players and on their achievements. Mr Araujo confirmed: “Our role is to create the best conditions for the athletes. The more players are recognised, the more our sport will be recognised.”
Finally, the Commission heard a report on the advancement of preparations for the beach volleyball tournament at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, which is set to mark an important new milestone in the history of the sport. A temporary beach volleyball stadium will be located at Copacabana beach, with seating for 12,000 spectators. The venue, which will be located on one of Brazil’s most famous landmarks, is sure to play a central role in the image of the 2016 Olympic Games, and is conveniently situated for athletes who will be staying at the Olympic Village.