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FIVB SUPPORTS A TOBACCO FREE SPORTS WORLD

Press release 31 May 2002        

Lausanne, Switzerland, 31 May 2002 - The FIVB on Friday joined forces with the World Health Organization to help draw attention to World No Tobacco Day, an initiative that FIVB President Dr, Rubén Acosta fully supports.

"The FIVB is happy to join forces with the World Health Organization on the occasion of World No Tobacco Day and beyond. By linking this very worthy campaign to our sport and publicizing it through our competitions we can help deliver the message that the use of tobacco is completely incompatible with our sport," said FIVB President Dr. Rubén Acosta in a message to the organizers of the day's activities.

The FIVB joined WHO activities for "World No Tobacco Day" at the organization's Geneva headquarters, accompanied by leading athletes who played an exhibition match and played volleyball with staff members. They included Beach Volleyball World Champion Bronze Medallist Vegard Hoidalen of Norway and China's Xilan Yang, who captained the Chinese women's team that was last year honored by the FIVB as Players of the Century. They were joined by Boris Lardi and Jan Svoboda of the prominent Swiss club"Chenois".

"I can say with confidence that the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour is tobacco free," said Vegard Hoidalen, who, with his partner Jorre André Kjemperud, ranked in sixth place on the 2001 Tour.  

Dr. David Nabarro of the Director Generals' Office of WHO brought a strong message from Director General Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland condemning the use of tobacco and appealing for sport to join the fight against its use. Dr. Douglas Bettcher of WHO's Tobacco Free Initiative and Dr. Ruth Bonita, representing Dr. Derek Yach of WHO's Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health Cluster also appealed for the sport to distance itself from tobacco use.

The FIVB Women's Volleyball World Championship in Germany (Aug 30-Sept 15) and the Montreux VolleyMasters 2002, (June 4-9), which features eight of the world's leading women's teams, will both support the Tobacco Free initiative.


"We owe it to our athletes, and especially our women athletes to support this campaign," said FIVB General Manager Jean-Pierre Seppey. "They are role models for our children and as future mothers, the guardians of the next generation."

The FIVB, the world governing body for the sport of Volleyball, has Continental Confederations in five continents and is affiliated with 217 National Federations.  Its mission is to develop Volleyball and Beach Volleyball as a major world media and entertainment sport through world class planning and organization of competitions, marketing and promotional activities.