PRESS RELEASE 20.08.2003


FIVB and Argentina come to agreement

FIVB and Argentinean authorities, volleyball players, Clubs and several Provincial Federations have reached an agreement by which Argentinean teams are allowed to enter the South American Championships and other international competitions.

Solution agreed before Olympic qualification procedure starts.

(Buenos Aires, 20 August 2003) The FIVB - the world governing body for Volleyball and Beach Volleyball - has decided to authorise a new representative body to enter Argentinean teams into international competition, with immediate effect. Argentina, one of the strongest Volleyball countries in the world, will now be able to participate in next month's South American Championships which is the start of the qualification process for next year's Athens Olympics.

The FIVB decision confirms the continuing suspension of the FAV, which was suspended by the FIVB Board of Administration in May for persistent breaches of the world governing body's decisions and Code of Conduct, and is expected to be expelled definitively by next year's FIVB Congress in May 2004.

The solution follows months of negotiation between FIVB and representatives from a wide cross-section of Argentinean sport, including players and former players, officials, the Sports Ministry and National Olympic Committee, and specific requests for recognition by the Association of Clubs of the Argentine Volleyball League (ACLAV) and a group of provincial federations. All of these parties are firmly committed to setting up a new federation that will respect the Constitution, Code of Conduct and decisions of the world governing body.

FIVB President Dr Rubén Acosta particularly thanks Dr Daniel Scioli, Vice President of the Republic of Argentina and former Sports Minister, with whom he has been personally seeking a viable solution, for his invaluable contribution to the negotiations and for his support for the continuing efforts of Argentinean players, former players and officials to have an Argentinean entity that fulfils the FIVB Constitutional requirements and respects the FIVB decisions.

The FIVB has decided to give provisional recognition as a "Federation of the FIVB" to a new Task Force comprising six members of Provincial Federations, three representatives of players and former players and one each of the coaching and refereeing corps and a full time Executive Secretary which are expected to form the core of the new federation.

This provisional recognition allows the Task Force:
1. To present itself in Argentina as the body recognised by the FIVB with the same rights and obligations granted to FIVB members;
2. To enter national teams representing Argentina in all FIVB international competitions;
3. To attend meetings of National Federations as an observer until the World Congress decides on its definitive affiliation.

Announcing the FIVB decision in Buenos Aires today, FIVB General Manager Jean-Pierre Seppey explained: "As soon as the FAV was suspended in May we explained the steps that should be taken in order for Argentina to be readmitted to international competition. We were immediately struck by the fact that the former President of the FAV and his supporters were virtually the only people in Argentina not to understand that international sport can only work if all the parties play by the same rules. The FAV cannot arbitrarily ignore rules approved by the 200 plus other federations!

"We recognised that there was always a theoretical possibility that the FAV could come to its senses, but that changed on August 6th when, with the participation of an expelled member, they elected officials suspended or declared ineligible by the FIVB Board of Administration. This FAV decision shows continued contempt for the FIVB's authority and sent a signal to everyone else that they were not interested in finding a solution that would allow the players to be readmitted to international competition," he added.

FIVB Vice-President Ary Graça, President of the South American Volleyball Confederation, announced that he had made all the necessary arrangements to postpone the South American Championships until mid-September in order to allow time for the Argentine national team to be ready to participate.

Miguel A. Quintana, a FIVB Board of Administration member, also pointed out: "Today's good news has come after a hectic month for us all having to face down the challenge from people who pretend to ignore the difficulties of governing a worldwide sport but tried to tell the FIVB what to do about questions that they have never faced."

"However, all that is an old story now. Today is an excellent day not just for Argentinean volleyball, but also for world volleyball. The tough decisions have been made and we are certain that they are for the long-term good of the players and for international sports competition," he added.

Under President Acosta's leadership, international volleyball revenues have increased exponentially and the Federation has grown to become the largest in the world, with 217 affiliated National Federations and 35 million registered players.

However, Dr Acosta saw more clearly than others that FIVB's extraordinary growth increased the need for strict controls throughout the sport worldwide, so that the FIVB could channel these revenues for the benefit of the game throughout the world: including launching and supporting new international competitions, increasing the prize money for players, financially supporting players' and officials' international travel and investing in sports aid and development programmes to spread the benefits of the sport as widely as possible.