The FIVB Volleyball World League 2016 is set to be 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.
This is the 27th edition of the World League. 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 I am sure will help generate excitement and anticipation in the lead up to Rio.
The new and improved tournament, which will take place from June 16 to July 17, will see the participating nations split into three groups of 12 teams in a similar formula to the World Grand Prix. These sides will battle it out to be crowned World League champions.
The competition has grown considerably over the years and this is testament to the growing popularity and accessibility of volleyball around the world. It began in 1990 with just eight participating nations and this grew to a record 36 teams in 2016. This expansion has helped enhance the competiveness and intensity of the tournament, making it more attractive to fans and sponsors worldwide.
France’s run in last year’s tournament, where they began in Group 2 before earning a place at the Group 1 Finals and stunning the volleyball world by clinching the crown, is a good example of how truly competitive the sport is now.
Egypt were also a shining example to the world as they swooped the Group 3 crown, their first FIVB title ever. Their achievement is a credit to the development of volleyball in the region as well as the opportunities given to teams at an international level.
We are constantly looking for new ways to evolve the tournament to enhance its spectator appeal to the point that it now sets the benchmark for dynamic sporting entertainment. 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.
The tournament continues to innovate and inspire and is an important part of the FIVB’s vision as we look 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 seeing an outstanding four weeks of action unfold.
Dr. Ary S. Graça F°