Lausanne, Switzerland, March 1, 2011 – The FIVB is pleased to announce that the FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour is set to return to Africa for the first time since 2005 following the confirmation of Agadir, Morocco as the venue of a men's Open event from October 4-9.
Cape Town, South Africa was the continent's last host of a Tour event, when USA's Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh, and Marcio Araujo and Fabio of Brazil clinched the respective women's and men's titles.
"Following the successful implementation of the FIVB Beach Volleyball Continental Cup around the world, the confirmation of Morocco as host country of an FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour event is a perfect example of the growth of our sport," the FIVB Beach Volleyball Commission president, Dr. Ary Graça, said.
"Africa is a hotbed of beach volleyball where the popularity is increasing every year so we look forward to seeing the best of Africa and the world compete in the men's only event in October."
The Morocco Volleyball Federation president, Mr Abdelhadi Ghzali, said: "It's our dream to organise such a big event which will be very helpful for the promotion of beach volleyball in Morocco and the continent of Africa.
"Having organised top volleyball competitions at international level, now the new challenge is beach volleyball and with Morocco boasting 3,500 kilometres of beaches and 300 sunny days on average a year we have the perfect conditions to make an outstanding tournament.
"This FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour event will kick-start beach volleyball development in the country especially with the great support of the host television broadcaster and the minister of sports, who are strongly involved and dedicated towards making this tournament successful."
Tournament promoter Allam Abderrazek said: "I'm absolutely delighted that the FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour is returning to Africa, and doubly excited that Morocco is hosting the event. Although Cape Town has hosted events in the past, this will be the first time the World Tour travels to the north of the continent, and with Agadir a popular destination for tourists, we're sure crowds will flock to the event.
"Sponsors are also very interested in promoting this event and with the world's top players expected to compete, I'm sure we have the perfect recipe to give everyone a great souvenir of their participation and of Morocco."
The Morocco Open brings the total number of tournaments on the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour to 18 (one World Championship, six Grand Slams, six double gender Opens and five single-gender Opens). The other venues include Chinese capital Beijing, back on the Swatch World Tour for the first time since the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games with a new Grand Slam, and Quebec which, as host of a double-gender Open, becomes the third Canadian city to host the World Tour after Montreal and Toronto.
Morocco, which will be guaranteed its first participants on the FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour with the Agadir event, has held three FIVB beach volleyball events in the past – all satellites in Casablanca from 2004-2005. South Africa is the only other African country to host Tour events – in 1995, 2004 and 2005 in Cape Town and in Durban in 1996.