President Graça’s message: Looking back at 2017
Lausanne, Switzerland, December 22, 2017 – This year has been very important for the FIVB. After an Olympic year in 2016, in which volleyball and beach volleyball were two of the most watched sports on the Olympic programme, we at the FIVB knew that it was crucial for us to continue growing our sport all over the world in 2017. We wanted to make volleyball more accessible for everyone, not only to play but also to watch live.
With hard work, dedication and great effort, we have strengthened considerably by revolutionizing our sports presentation, bringing the game closer to spectators. Now we are launching the Volleyball Nations League, a competition equal for men and women which brings together the best nations in the world. This represents the biggest change to volleyball in the last 20 years!
As well as the Volleyball Nations League, there will also be a secondary Challenger Cup, incorporating promotion and relegation to guarantee that volleyball remains the most competitive and engaging, multi-gender sport in the world. Countries will compete to qualify through their Confederations, increasing opportunities for development globally.
These two competitions are part of the FIVB’s Nucleus Project, which aims to focus investment on the key markets around the world. We believe that these nations are crucial to raising the international relevance of volleyball, which will then in turn help smaller volleyball nations through greater funding and opportunities for hosting.
To be a champion volleyball player, you must have strength, athleticism and speed, as well as the capacity to be a great team player. We believe that the greatest achievements are always created by a team of individuals. In 2017, our athletes in both volleyball and beach volleyball displayed once again their extraordinary abilities on the court. They ‘Act as One’, showcasing team work and unity to fulfil their dreams of becoming champions.
On the court, we saw phenomenal athleticism, exciting rallies and unbelievable action all over the world, both in volleyball and beach volleyball competitions. The FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna was a particular highlight, attracting over 170,000 spectators throughout 10 days of exhilarating matches.
Off the court, it was another important year for the FIVB. In October, we celebrated our 70th anniversary in Paris, which gave us an opportunity to look back with pride at all that we have achieved together over the last 70 years. But it was also a chance to look forward with excitement to where we can continue to push the boundaries of innovation.
As we leave 2017 and move into 2018, we get even closer to Tokyo 2020. Asia continues to be a huge part of the FIVB’s plans over the next several years, as we look to recreate the wonderful atmospheres we have seen on the volleyball and beach volleyball courts at London 2012 and Rio 2016.
I want to thank you all for your commitment to volleyball and beach volleyball over the past year. It is everyone involved in our sport that makes it a success. Without each member playing their vital role, the FIVB cannot be the world’s number one family sport.
FIVB President Dr. Ary S. Graça F°