Berlin, Germany, June 2, 2003 - The International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) launched the SWATCH-FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour with aplomb on Monday, together with the Mayor of Berlin, new title sponsors SWATCH, the German Volleyball Federation and organisers of the Berlin Beach Volleyball Grand Slam to celebrate a new era in this booming sport.
The FIVB also announced the awarding of the 2007 World Championship. "We have great pleasure in announcing that the 2007 Beach Volleyball World Championship will be hosted by Berlin," FIVB General Manager Mr Jean-Pierre Seppey told the officials, guests and media at the season's launch. Berlin will assume the honour after the two yearly championship visits the USA in 2005. The 2003 edition is to be in Brazil on the fabulous Copacabana beach in October.
Berlin's mayor Mr Klaus Wowereit said; "With Beach Volleyball and the city of Berlin we have the right combination of talent to organise a great World Championship. This will be the perfect opportunity to bring the beach to the city and to show the world what Berlin can do".
The FIVB also used the occasion to launch their official title sponsorship with SWATCH, the world's biggest producers of timing devices and time pieces. "SWATCH, a world-wide brand that stands for quality, technical innovation, style and lifestyle is a perfect match for Beach Volleyball," Mr Seppey said. As well as producing a special Beach Volleyball watch, SWATCH introduces important technical innovations such as electronic scoreboards and speed measuring devices that will further enhance interest in this summer sport of choice.
SWATCH president Michele Sofisti told the gathering that his company was excited about the partnership with the FIVB and Beach Volleyball and saw it as "long term".
This year for the first time the Berlin SWATCH-FIVB World Tour event has been elevated to Grand Slam status, the highest level tournament under the World Championship. "I want to make sure that the best place in the world to play Beach Volleyball is Berlin," said Mr Werner von Moltke, president of the German Volleyball Federation, adding "that is my ambition".
The FIVB also took the opportunity to introduce their new partnership with Global Sports Alliance and the Ecoflag programme linked to the United Nations environment programme. The FIVB's Beach Volleyball tournaments will now all fly the Ecoflag and organisers, players and the public will be encouraged to promote a cleaner environment. "The FIVB has a vision that sport can contribute significantly towards building a sustainable society through sending social messages and taking action on the environment," said Global Sports Alliance Executive Director Mr Tatsuo Okada, who was in Berlin for the presentation.