A Snapshot of the World League
FIVB Volleyball World League 2017 will start on June 2 as its final modification since next year the formula and many more changes will be made to the structure of tournament such as the number of participating teams, duration, as well as its name. It also guaranteed seven years of presence for 12 countries including Iran while having some alterations in TV coverage and marketing.
For the new 2018 season, 16 teams (twelve core teams and four Challenger teams) will be invited to participate in the competition. The male and female New Volleyball League will last for six weeks (5+1) during the international season. World League/World Grand prix introduced in the 1990s to support growth of the sport through intercontinental competition as part of marketing plan to set a mark on the activities of world federation in late 20th century.
Unfortunately, value of the event is stagnating. The 29th edition of the annual men’s international volleyball tournament will have major changes for the following four reasons:
- No or minimal increase in the value of TV rights, media impact and sponsorship income
- Most local organizers struggle to stage profitable tournaments and sell domestic rights
- Constant changes of event format and calendar caused difficulty in planning for broadcasters, media, players and fans
- Not self-sustainable event, forced FIVB to inject money through prize money and travel cost support.
The 5th Appearance of Iran in WL
The national volleyball team of Iran is experiencing his fifth presence in the world league with the coaching of Igor Kolakovic. In the last editions, Julio Velasco (2013), Slobodan Kovac (2014 & 2015), and Raul Lozano (2016) took over the national men’s team of Iran.
The World League 2017 will be played with a record of 36 teams into three groups, the participating teams of which are:
Group 1: France, Italy, Russia, USA, Brazil, Iran, Argentina, Serbia, Bulgaria, Belgium, Poland, Canada
Group 2: Netherlands, Portugal, Turkey, Slovakia, Japan, South Korea, Finland, China, Egypt, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Australia
Group 3: Tunisia, Venezuela, Qatar, Germany, Mexico, Spain, Montenegro, Kazakhstan, Greece, Chinese Taipei, Estonia, Austria
The preliminary round of the world league will start on June 2 with the debut match of France against Bulgaria. Fifty-four matches will be held into three weeks with the match of Argentina against Bulgaria as the last match of the preliminary round.
Here is the pooling of 2017 World League:
Week 1 of 2017 World League on June 2-4:
Pool A: Italy (the host), Brazil, Poland, Iran
Pool B: Serbia (the host), the USA, Canada, Belgium
Pool C: Russia (the host), France, Bulgaria, Argentina
Week 2 of 2017 World League on June 9-11:
Pool D: Iran (the host), Serbia, Argentina, Belgium
Pool E: Bulgaria (host), Brazil, Poland, Canada
Pool F: France (the host), Russia, the USA, Italy
Week 3 of 2017 World League on June 16-19:
Pool I: Argentina (the host), Serbia, Brazil, Bulgaria
Pool H: Poland (the host), the USA, Russia, Iran
Pool L: Belgium (the host), France, Italy, Canada
Brazil will host the final round of the world league joining the top five teams of the preliminary round on July 4. The formula of the final round is as the last years’. The Final 6 will rival into two three-team pools whereby the top two teams of each pool will move up to the semifinal. The winners of semifinal will then find their way up into the final round.
The Number of Participating Teams in Last Editions
The number of participating teams in WL1990 was only eight that competed into two pools. It increased to ten in 1991. It became twelve in number between 1992 & 2000 and in 2004 & 2005 editions. It finally reached to 17 teams in 2001-2003 and 2006-2012. The rise in the number continued in 2013 when it was 18 teams. The radical change occurred in 2014 when ten more teams were added to get 28 teams. The number of teams reached to 32 in 2015. The record was set to 36 in 2016 and 2017. Next year will have also a change in the number of participating teams of group 1 where the number will reach to 16 teams.
According to “New Volleyball League”, sixteen participating teams (12 core teams and 4 challenger teams) per gender in a semi-closed league will fight with promotion. The 12 core teams have 7 years of guaranteed participation unless not fulfilling the organizational and technical requirements. Twelve Core Teams are ARGENTINA, IRAN, POLAND, GERMANY, JAPAN, RUSSIA, BRAZIL, ITALY, USA, CHINA, SERBIA, and FRANCE while four Challengers are AUSTRALIA, KOREA, CANADA, and BULGARIA.
The Honorable Teams of WL
The statistics shows that the national volleyball team of Brazil with 9 gold, 6 silver, and 4 bronze medals is the most honorable team of world league. The top power of the world won gold medals in 1993, 2001, 2003-2007, 2009, and 2010. Italy as the second honorable team of the world made this record with 8 gold, 3 silver, and 4 bronze medals. Russia as the third team achieved 3 gold, 5 silver, and 7 bronze medals. the next ranks will go to USA (2 gold, 1 silver, 3 bronze), Cuba (1 gold, 5 silver, 3 bronze), Serbia (1 gold, 4 silver, 3 bronze), the Netherlands (1 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze), France (1 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze), and Poland (1 gold & 1 bronze).
Iran is experiencing his five presence in the world league 2017 with rather important changes in the composition of the team. The most important change is Igor Kolakovic who is the new head coach of Iranian senior men. In addition, Payman Akbari for the first time got the position to be the assistant coach; the absence of some players as Mahdi Mahdavi and Shahram Mahmoudi marked the other major changes this year.
Kolakovic worked as the assistant coach of Serbia & Montenegro team from 2003 to 2005. He has obtained three silver medals in the world league. In 2010, he took over the Serbian team and drove them to the bronze medal.
The national team of Iran in 2013 in his first appearance in the world league finished ninth with the legendary Julio Velasco. Next year in 2014 in their second presence claimed fourth with Slobodan Kovac. In 2015 with the same coach, Iran displayed an acceptable performance and obtained the seventh place. Iran achieved the eighth place out of 12 participating teams in 2016.
Japan, South Korea, and China are three Asian teams with a long history in world league. The best Asian records had been the sixth place by Japan (1990 & 1993) South Korea (1995), and China (1996) in the history of world league.
Australia, the other Asian representative in world league made his first presence in 1999 (with the wild card as the host team of 2000 Olympic Games) and finished tenth out of twelve participating teams. The second presence of Australia took place in 2014 when they fight in group 2 and as the champion of this group moved up to group 1. Australia Joined the world league the year after in 2015, 2016, and 2017.
Iran is the only Asian team of group 1 and South Korea, Australia, Japan, and China will take their chance in group 2.
World League Honors:
Japan 1990: Italy, Netherlands, Brazil
Italy 1991: Italy, Cuba, Russia
Italy 1992: Italy, Cuba, USA
Brazil 1993: Brazil, Russia, Italy
Italy 1994: Italy, Cuba, Brazil
Brazil 1995: Italy, Brazil, Cuba
Netherlands 1996: Netherlands, Italy, Russia
Russia 1997: Italy, Cuba, Russia
Italy 1998: Cuba, Russia, Netherlands
Argentina 1999: Italy, Cuba, Brazil
Netherlands 2000: Italy, Russia, Brazil
Poland 2001: Brazil, Italy, Russia
Brazil 2002: Russia, Brazil, Yugoslavia
Spain 2003: Brazil, Serbia & Montenegro, Italy
Italy 2004: Brazil, Italy, Serbia & Montenegro
Serbia 2005: Brazil, Serbia & Montenegro, Cuba
Russia 2006: Brazil, France, Russia
Poland 2007: Brazil, Russia, USA
Brazil 2008: USA, Serbia, Russia
Serbia 2009: Brazil, Serbia, Russia
Argentina 2010: Brazil, Russia, Serbia
Poland 2011: Russia, Brazil, Poland
Bulgaria 2012: Poland, USA, Cuba
Argentina 2013: Russia, Brazil, Italy
Italy 2014: USA, Brazil, Italy
Brazil 2015: France, Serbia, USA
Poland 2016: Serbia, Brazil, France