CEV Board meeting in Prague sets the tone for promising year
The inaugural CEV U22 Volleyball European Championship will take place next year to follow up on the introduction of an U23 World Championship that the FIVB Executive Committee and Sports Events Council recently scheduled for later this year in Brazil and Mexico. With this action and namely via the addition of this age group Championship, the CEV intends to compensate for the gap that so far separated the junior division from senior Volleyball and which eventually resulted in many young and promising players leaving the sport before making it to the elite level.
The 2014 FIVB Volleyball World Championship will see – for the first time in history – the qualification process run under the authority of the five Continental Confederations. As Poland and Italy have started their preparations for the world’s Volleyball premiere event coming up next year, the European entries for the qualification process have broken all-time records with more National Federations probably going to join by the final deadline set for this coming January 30.
Waiting for 2014, the current season will already provide the Volleyball family with two major highlights, namely the final rounds of the 2013 CEV Volleyball European Championship – Men & Women whose hosting countries (Denmark and Poland for the men’s competition, while Germany and Switzerland are set to welcome the 16 teams that will battle for the women’s crown) are already tirelessly working in order to contribute a unique Volleyball show come next September.
Europe’s youth – and possibly next golden generation – will have its own “festival” this coming March and April in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia & Herzegovina. A total of 12 teams will embark there on a quest for glory with the composition of the preliminary groups finalized only a few days ago via the memorable DOL held in Serbia’s capital city where some Volleyball legends – and gold medalists from the 2000 Olympics in Sydney – were also in attendance to significantly mark the importance of that Championship for the entire Balkan region.
As the European Cups are entering their most intriguing and exciting stage, the CEV Board did already start working on a concept for the coming seasons. A special working group was set up in order to study and eventually amend the current format of the European Cups, thereby increasing their appeal also in terms of marketing policies and possible sponsorships. The so-called “golden set” rule was also amended – an adjustment that will enter into force as from next October 1, 2013 – and that change will be applied to all CEV competitions whenever home and away matches are to be played to determine the side making it to the following round.
The Board has also worked out an innovative concept for the DOL of the 2014 CEV Volleyball Champions League that is scheduled for June 28 in Vienna in conjunction with the annual European Volleyball Gala. The calendar for the 2013/2014 season prepared by the European Cups Commission was also adopted by the Board with the next campaign set to unfold in late October 2013 to continue all the way through the finals scheduled for March 2014.
As for Beach Volleyball, the major highlight of the coming season is evidently contributed by the CEV European Championship Final set to take place through July 30-August 4 in Klagenfurt, a venue that has gradually turned into the real world’s Beach Volleyball “Mecca” with hundreds of thousands always in attendance in the past few years as the FIVB World Tour regularly stopped there on the banks of the Wörther See.
After the inaugural edition whereby a couple of pairs eventually qualified for the London Olympics, the CEV Beach Volleyball Continental Cup will return already this year as teams start their quest for a spot to join the next Olympic event coming up in 2016 in the unique scenario of Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro.
Similarly to Volleyball, the focus is not exclusively on elite sport but also on laying down the right foundations for future development and especially on a comprehensive youth program funded by the FIVB and whereby – among other goals – Europe’s best pairs will be able to claim a spot to compete at the 2014 Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China.
Moreover, all Commissions did report to the Board on their latest activities before the Board members agreed upon adopting a strategic plan that describes the actions to be implemented in the coming months in order to support the various efforts that are being performed to foster the development and promotion of Volleyball and Beach Volleyball across Europe.