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FIVB and CEV join forces to promote volleyball in England

FIVB President Dr. Ary S. Graça F° with (from left to right): CEV President Aleksandar Boricic, Volleyball England Chairman Adam Walker, Vice-chair Keith Nicholls and CEO Janet Inman
London, United Kingdom, October 19, 2017 - International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) President Dr. Ary S. Graça F° and European Volleyball Confederation (CEV) President Aleksandar Boricic met with senior officials from Volleyball England, UK Sport, and Sport England to discuss methods of increasing the popularity of volleyball in England.

President Graça and President Boricic, alongside Volleyball England Chairman Adam Walker, Vice-chair Keith Nicholls, and CEO Janet Inman, met with UK Sport Chief Executive Liz Nicholl to discuss the growth of elite level volleyball in England. During the meeting, President Graça spoke about the overall success of Team GB at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and the benefits of investing in volleyball and beach volleyball.

From left to right: FIVB President Dr. Ary S. Graça F°, UK Sport Chief Executive Liz Nicholl, CEV President Aleksandar Boricic and Volleyball England Chairman Adam Walker

“Your country's Olympians have become great role models in the UK, and I believe we can do the same thing with the country’s elite volleyball players,” President Graça said. “As a leading presence in both sport and business, the English market is so important for us and the FIVB is committed to helping Volleyball England grow its popularity in this country.”

President Graça also raised the possibility of hosting more events in England, citing the success of both volleyball and beach volleyball at the London 2012 Olympic Games:

“It was suggested that we should have three sessions each day. Every session, for both volleyball and beach volleyball, was sold out – it was a tremendous success! We should now be looking to combine the legacy of London 2012 with our revolutionary sports presentation system, to create new volleyball fans. Elite events will help to bring in more fans, sponsors and broadcasting companies, raising the profile of volleyball in England.”

Nicholl was receptive to the enthusiasm shown and offered UK Sport’s expertise in helping Volleyball England create a long-term major event strategy to promote the sport across England.

The delegation also met with Sport England Chairman Nick Bitel, where the prospect of further investment in school and social projects was discussed.

FIVB President Dr. Ary S. Graça F° and CEV President Aleksandar Boricic with (from left to right): Sport England Chairman Nick Bitel, Volleyball England Chairman Adam Walker, CEO Janet Inman, Vice-chair Keith Nicholls and Chief Operating Officer Stewart Dunne

“Volleyball is a non-contact sport that boys and girls can play together, and is a sport that encourages social inclusion,” President Graça said. “With more access and role models to look up to, I believe we can create a new culture of volleyball here.” 

Bitel spoke about the importance of getting people active, and changing the way sport in school is taught, to promote interaction and fun.

“We are looking at the way teachers engage their students and make sport enjoyable for all, this is part of our long term goal to give people a lifetime habit of sport. If we can do that then there is no reason why volleyball cannot grow in this country.”

Speaking at the meetings, President Boricic said that although there was a long way to go, the future of volleyball in England looks bright:

“I don’t have dreams. I have a vision. This vision must be built on solid foundations, and based on accurate evaluations of where we are as a sport. Our plan may start off slow, but there is a market for volleyball across England, and I am excited to help Volleyball England achieve their aims.”

Volleyball England (VE) Chairman, Adam Walker, spoke of his delight at welcoming both presidents and said that with the support of both FIVB and CEV, Volleyball England can build a brighter future for volleyball in England:

“It was a pleasure to welcome President Graça and President Boricic to London, we value their support and passion in developing volleyball in our country. In what is a difficult landscape currently, we need to ensure we maximise our resources to help us understand and build a sustainable future for the wider volleyball community. It is great to see the enthusiasm of both presidents and we look forward to working together to do all we can to promote volleyball in England.”

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