FIVB President Dr. Rubén Acosta talks during a press conference following the 31st FIVB World Congress
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, June 18, 2008 – Dr. Rubén Acosta looked back fondly upon the progress of Volleyball during his 24 years as President of the FIVB and expressed his trust in the future of the sport under incoming President Jizhong Wei at a press conference Wednesday following the 31st FIVB World Congress in Dubai.
“We have accomplished the first two phases in the life of our organisation,” said Dr. Acosta. The first phase was until 1984 under the leadership of Paul Libaud for 37 years and I would like to pay homage to him. The second phase has taken 24 years and in those years we have been trying to find our way and have achieved a series of improvements. The third phase starts with the election of Mr. Jizhong Wei.
“I’m sure Mr.Wei will bring new fresh ideas to our sport. It is not just a matter of age, it is a matter of competence. He will bring new ways, a new image. I wish him good luck,” said President Acosta, who also took the opportunity to pay a special tribute to the World Congress Guest of Honour and organisers.
“I want to express our sincere and heartfelt thanks to Guest of Honour H.H. Sheik Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum to accept and patronise this 31st FIVB World Congress, the gathering of the biggest sports conference in the world,” said Dr. Acosta. “It was the best World Congress ever organised. I give my sincere thanks to the people of Dubai and the United Arab Emirates Volleyball Association.”
Following an FIVB Board of Administration decision approved by Congress that elections be in line with the Olympic cycle, Wei will be President until elections in 2012, beginning his term after the Beijing Olympic Games.
“During my term my task is to implement and accomplish all the projects already initiated by Dr. Acosta. We may have fresh ideas but these ideas started under the guidelines set up by the President,” said Wei. “The most important legacy is the intellectual legacy of Dr. Acosta that has come from 24 years of hard work accumulated. These are my feelings as I take the baton from the hand of the President.”
Dr. Acosta was elected President of the FIVB for the first time at the 19th FIVB World Congress in Long Beach, Calif., USA, in 1984, taking over from founding President Libaud. As Volleyball's ambassador, President Acosta tirelessly promoted the sport worldwide and oversaw the spectacular development of Volleyball into the success story it is today, changing the face of the game to attract fans, sponsors and television through innovative management, creation of events and rule changes such as the Rally Point System.
Part of Dr. Acosta’s legacy is handing over to First Executive Vice-President Wei the largest sporting federation in the world in terms of Members, with the President responsible for increasing the number of affiliated National Federations in the FIVB from 154 to 220. The crowning achievement after 24 years of peerless leadership was in realising his and wife Malú Acosta’s dream of creating a fitting home for Volleyball’s future generations. The result of their endeavour was the creation of “Château Les Tourelles,” FIVB’s stunning new headquarters on the banks of Lac Léman in Lausanne, Switzerland.
In other developments at the 31st FIVB World Congress on Tuesday, the General Assembly unanimously approved an important change in Volleyball rules of having up to 14 players in each team, with a compulsory two libero players on the list. FIVB President Dr. Rubén Acosta said the rule change, which is an increase from 12 players and will not allow both liberos on-court at the same time, will be mandatory for all competitions starting from January 1, 2009. Confederations and National Federations will be free to implement the rule after the Olympic Games.
The Congress also agreed to empower the FIVB Board to decide the immediate use of a lower-pressure ball in order to increase the length of rallies and for the MVA200 to be the official game ball during the Beijing Olympic Games.
The General Assembly passed the proposal that an Olympic qualification event similar to that in Volleyball be added to the FIVB Beach Volleyball Olympic qualification process from 2012 for all teams who have completed participation in eight World Tour tournaments without qualifying for the Olympic Games. The event will qualify three teams per gender and remain under exclusive FIVB television and marketing control.
Congress approved the Board decision regarding International Transfer Certificates (ITCs) to help the development of local players, protect the identity of National Leagues and stop monopolies of financially strong Clubs. From the 2010-11 season, Clubs will be free to engage as many players as they want from other National Federations, but when they come to play the number of ITC players on court at any one time is preferably set at two. Notwithstanding, a National Federation may authorize one extra ITC player on court per team.
It was reaffirmed to the General Assembly that National Leagues are allowed to have a playing season of seven months between October 15 and May 15 of the following year.
The Congress agreed with and confirmed the continental allocation of places for the 2010 FIVB World Championships after the end of the application window for the tournament on June 30, 2008. There are 212 teams registered for the tournaments, 112 Men’s teams for the event in Italy and 100 Women’s teams in Japan. The vacancies are as follows: Women; Asia (4), Africa (2), Europe (8), North and Central America (6), South America (2). Added to these numbers are Russia as 2006 FIVB World Champions and Japan as 2010 organiser. Men; Asia (4), Africa (3), Europe (8), North and Central America (5), South America (2). Added to these numbers are Brazil as 2006 World Champions and Italy as 2010 host organiser.
The election of Russia’s Stanislav Shevchenko as Board of Administration Member from Europe was endorsed by the Congress.
The General Assembly heard progress reports from the future organisers of the 2008 Olympic Games, 2009 Grand Champions Cup in Japan, 2009 Beach Volleyball World Championships in Stavanger, Norway, 2009 Women’s Junior and Girls’ Youth World Championships in Mexico, 2009 Boys’ Youth World Championships in Italy, 2010 Women’s World Championship in Japan, 2010 Men’s World Championship in Italy and 2012 Olympic Games in London as well as the five Confederations’ reports for 2007-08.