The FIVB Volleyball World League has been thrilling
players and fans in pretty much every corner of the pla-
net since 1990. This year marks the 24
staging of the
unique, global competition – the only one of its kind in
any team sport. And the 2013 World League boasts a
new record: for the first time, 18 teams will compete
against each other this year, as opposed to 16 last year.
The figures from 2012 illustrate the importance of the
event: 400 players were involved in 106 matches in 16
host cities, with a prize purse of $5.7m up for grabs.The
winner of the Finals in Bulgaria was Poland – another
first. And it goes without saying that the 2013 World
League will again feature a number of innovations.
Iran, with star coach Julio Velasco, will make their first
appearance in 2013, becoming the 26
country in the
history of the annual men’s competition, which sees the
best volleyball teams on the planet go head to head.
Back for the first time since 2010 are The Netherlands,
the 1996 Olympic champions who also won the World
League in the same year.
As such, the field at this year’s World League includes
all seven former winners: Brazil (nine titles), Italy (eight),
Russia (two), defending champions Poland, Cuba, USA
and The Netherlands (one win each). Japan, Serbia,
France, Bulgaria, Argentina, Spain, Canada, Egypt,
China, South Korea, Greece, Finland, Australia, Germa-
ny, Portugal, Venezuela, the Czech Republic and Puerto
Rico have also made at least one appearance in the
competition since the World League was launched in
The story of the World League is one of spectacular
development. Eight countries lined up in two groups
of four in the inaugural competition in 1990. This time
around, the field consists of 18 countries for the first
time: Brazil, Poland, USA, Bulgaria, Argentina and
France in Group A; Russia, Italy, Serbia, Germany, Cuba
and Iran in Pool B; Canada, South Korea, Finland, The
Netherlands, Japan and Portugal in Group C.
The top two teams in Groups A and B and the winner of
Pool C will join hosts Argentina in the Finals. From July
to 21, the best six teams will meet in the 8,000-sea-
ter Islas Malvinas Hall in Mar del Plata to determine the
winner of the 24
World League.
Last year, Poland secured its first major title since
winning the Olympics in 1976 with victory in the
capacity Armeec Arena in Sofia, Bulgaria. The
Poles defeated USA 3-0 in the final, while Cuba picked
up the bronze medal courtesy of victory over hosts Bul-
garia. Host broadcaster BNT provided fantastic images
of the Finals to countries all around the globe.
In 2012, TV broadcasts of the World League reached
new markets. New contracts ensured the five highlight
shows were also available for fans in Canada and on
the Indian subcontinent. All 106 matches were pro-
duced and broadcast live, with the number of interna-
tional TV channels rising from 33 (2011) to 35 (2012).
In total, the live broadcasts reached 592 million house-
holds worldwide, whilst the FIVB live streaming on
the internet was in demand among fans in an ever-
increasing number of countries. No wonder: after all,
the FIVB-organised event is synonymous with fantastic
sport and a spectacular show.
The success story witnessed since 1990 is evidence of
the ingenuity of the idea to introduce a global compe-
tition between the best volleyball teams in the world.
And the story continues this year with new records –
is set to provide a thrilling 24