Lausanne, Switzerland, July 13, 2014 – The FIVB World League Group 1 Finals will get under way in Florence on July 16 and in comments released on Sunday, FIVB President Dr. Ary S. Graça F° has highlighted the excitement, passion and intensity generated by the 25th edition of volleyball’s premier annual men’s tournament.
“The new format of the FIVB Volleyball World League has produced a spectacular 25th edition of the competition, including a fair share of surprises,” Dr. Graça said. “The competition’s six best teams will now gather for the Finals at the Nelson Mandela Forum in the beautiful city of Florence, Italy, from July 16 to 20, where fans will be able to cheer for their teams and participate in a festival of world-class volleyball. Florence is the fourth Italian city to host a World League Final, following Rome, Milan and Genova.”
• Australia were the final team to qualify when they beat France 3-2 (25-20, 22-25, 25-22, 23-25, 16-14) in the Group 2 Final on Saturday
• At the Finals, Italy, USA and Australia will play in Pool H; Iran, Russia and Brazil will play in Pool I
• Pool games will take place on July 16, 17 and 18; the semifinals will be on July 19 and the finals on July 20
• Russia, Brazil and Italy finished first, second and third, respectively, in the 2013 World League
• Australia and Iran have reached the Finals for the first time
• Australia’s finished 10th without winning a match in their only previous World League appearance in 1999.
Dr. Graça pointed out how the changes to the tournament’s structure have brought greater participation and excitement.
“In 2014, significant modifications were made to the format of the World League competition, which has gone from 18 to 28 participants this year. The competition’s new structure has given even more countries an opportunity to participate in a sporting event of the highest calibre,” Dr. Graça noted. “I was pleased to see teams like Iran really push their opponents to step up their game.
“The World League’s Intercontinental Round, which started at the end of May, was organised around seven pools of four teams played in a round-robin format. It has provided ever greater challenges to the more experienced teams and new opportunities for countries where the sport is developing.
“The decision to open the competition to more countries has also meant that more federations have had a taste of what it is like to organise a high-level volleyball event. In turn, this has helped to develop an enthusiastic grassroots support system for the sport in the countries concerned.
“The FIVB is proud that the new World League has contributed to the continued development of the sport of volleyball and has helped to bring the game to a wider and more global audience.
“I am looking forward to the matches in Florence, which will be a showcase for the best teams and players in the world. I would like to welcome fans to the Nelson Mandela Forum, where I am sure they will experience a memorable conclusion to this year’s competition.
“May the best team win.”