International and European volleyball families share same mission - FIVB President
Dr. Graça started by expressing his happiness for attending the celebrations of the CEV 40th anniversary: “Congratulations to the CEV President André Meyer and to the European Confederation for this reception. I feel like being at home; people are satisfied and happy. I just spoke to the chairman of the Luxembourg Volleyball Federation and I said I brought the sun here but won’t take it back tomorrow as I leave the Grand Duchy.”
After this short introduction the FIVB President took some moments to share his vision of volleyball, a vision he has asserted since taking over the presidency of the world’s governing body this past September. “The idea is to innovate but first we have to work on credibility. We were completely left apart by the IOC and last weekend Dr. Jacques Rogge told me that he has the great pleasure of having volleyball back in the IOC family. However, credibility is a necessity also towards the media and the public”.
Dr. Graça has embarked on an ambitious plan to make volleyball and beach volleyball more and more popular on the world: “We have to spread the market of our sport as we can’t continue with the same countries participating in all major events. I can give you a very good example taken from the Continental Cup where 143 countries joined the qualification process for the 2012 Olympics, including 38 in Africa. It shows that we can bring more people to the sport and give them an opportunity. My key words are innovation, credibility and opportunity. Europe is not much different than the other continents in that it also needs to give the same opportunities to all countries. We will be working in this direction. The FIVB will be supporting all European countries, starting from those countries included in category 1, 2 and 3, not to forget those who contribute to make volleyball the great show it is.”
“We also need to change our mentality: the money that comes from sport should go back to sport thereby reaching all continents,” he continued. “By exploiting the positive image that volleyball enjoys, our sport can turn into an excellent product to sell to families coming together in a sports hall where an atmosphere of friendship and fair play is to be felt. We also shall not forget that we have even more girls than boys playing volleyball, starting from an early age. On the other hand, beach volleyball has also disclosed unique opportunities and turned into one of the greatest successes at the 2012 London Olympics. I am sure that my personal friendship with many European volleyball leaders who have a very good understanding of my philosophy and have always worked hard for the sport will help us achieve the goals we have set for the FIVB and for Europe as well.”
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