The competition consists of a single round-robin tournament with 12 participating teams, organised in four rounds with 66 matches in total.
Five days of competition
The 12 participating teams are split into two groups (Pool A & Pool B). The two groups (Pool A & Pool B) will be composed of six teams
Six days of competition
Teams continue to play against the remaining teams of the other group.
The top three teams (if not yet qualified) will earn berths for the Olympics taking place in London from July 28 to August 12, 2012.
The distribution of teams for Pool A and Pool B for the first and second round will be according to the FIVB World Ranking as per January 15, 2011.
CUBA (NORCECA continental champions)
SERBIA (CEV continental champions)
BRAZIL (CSV continental champions)
EGYPT (CAVB continental champions)
IRAN (AVC continental champions)
USA (NORCECA vice-continental champions)
ITALY (CEV vice-continental champions)
ARGENTINA (CSV vice-continental champions)
CHINA (AVC vice-continental champions)
ORGANISING COUNTRY: 1
2011 CONTINENTAL CHAMPIONS: 5
(one per confederation)
2011 VICE-CONTINENTAL CHAMPIONS: 4 (the four highest ranked in the FIVB World Ranking as per January 15, 2011)
WILD CARDS: 2
FIVB, FUJI TV and JVA will choose the remaining two teams under the condition that they took part in the corresponding Continental Championship, have enrolled for Olympic Qualification for London 2012 and guarantee television broadcasting in their country
NB: In case Japan is continental champion or vice-champion, the third ranked team from the continental championship will be taken into consideration as one of the second-placed continental teams.
JAPAN (As hosts of the competition, Japan qualify automatically for the World Cup)