Lausanne, Switzerland, April 18, 2013 - In 1990, Andrea Zorzi was part of the Italian men’s national volleyball team that took part in the inaugural World League. The format and structure of the World League has evolved remarkably since then, as have the number of tournaments in the volleyball calendar. FIVB.org took the opportunity to sit down with Zorzi for his views on this year’s changes and where he sees World League going in the future.
“I have seen many changes in volleyball during my career in the sport. The World League, in particular, has grown since its humble beginnings in 1990 and is now one of the most important annual tournaments in the volleyball calendar. This year’s edition is set to be better than ever as the number of participating teams increases from 16 to 18.
“I was asked if I would have liked to have played in this new World League format. For my part I don’t have any regrets about my time in the sport and am proud to have been present during this key period of volleyball expansion in the nineties.
“As such I am pleased with the current changes in the sport and know that it will benefit the quality of volleyball on offer this season
“For starters, the new format will provide less experienced countries in the World League with the opportunity to hone their technical and tactical skills. The higher ranking teams on the other hand can engage in more intense competition, which helps the more experienced players keep their motivation level high. Including more teams into the mix will also serve to increase our sport’s popularity.
“Another significant step in the right direction is the inclusion of the Under-23 age-group competition in this year’s volleyball calendar, which will help our current crop of young players be better prepared to make the move into the World League. Prior to this many young players found themselves in a situation where they were too old to play in a youth championship but not experienced enough to make the move to senior level volleyball.
“The Under-23 competition gives players the impetus to continue working on their game, technique and skills and is another opportunity for them to fully exploit their talent. It is also of benefit to the clubs of the National Leagues as they will be able to draw from a pool of more experienced players.
“However, it is important to remember that the Under-23 competitions are not a panacea and the aim is to better prepare young athletes for the challenges that await them when they make the move to senior level competition.
“I hope that the FIVB will continue to work towards developing volleyball by providing more opportunities for our players. If our beloved sport will become a common activity for people all over the world, then we will have achieved an important goal. While not every individual is destined to become a star player it goes without saying that the more players we have, the more important volleyball will be.”
Andrea Zorzi is a former Italian volleyball star who won two FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship crowns in 1990 and 1994 as well as three World League titles from 1990-1992 where he also won the Most Valuable Player award at both the 1990 and 1991 editions. He was also a silver medallist at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games and won the 1989 European Championship in a career which spanned 325 matches. After retiring in 1998, he collaborated with a number of important Italian TV networks as well as international newspapers as a journalist.
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