18 teams set to compete in 2014 European League
The competition format was revised going back to home and away matches, i.e. to the formula that the European League originally shared with the FIVB World League. The winning teams from the 2014 edition of the CEV European League will qualify to the 2015 FIVB World League respectively World Grand Prix, on completion of all necessary criteria.
“We have studied and reviewed the outcome of the 2013 edition and have come to the conclusion that home and away matches will definitely help us enhance the visibility of this competition” CEV President André Meyer says. “On one hand, it will save money for the organisers; on the other hand, fans are always very much interested in seeing their heroes and heroines, and therefore with this format we will make sure that all matches will attract as many supporters as possible for every time the home team will be in action,” he continues.
The 10 Men’s teams were divided into two Pools each featuring five teams and will be playing a single round robin for a total of 10 matches per team.
The Pool formation was determined using the serpentine system according to the actual European Ranking (as of October 18, 2013):
Pool A: Poland, Greece, Montenegro, Romania, and Azerbaijan
Pool B: Turkey, Slovenia, Austria, Denmark, and F.Y.R. of Macedonia
Three teams – Poland, F.Y.R. of Macedonia, and Azerbaijan – will be making their debut in the CEV Volleyball European League whereas Slovenia and Greece are coming back after missing on the last edition.
“We are very glad to welcome all of these countries,” CEV President André Meyer says. “We know that Poland will be using the European League as an additional way to prepare their players for the home World Championship in September while Azerbaijan are gearing up to host next year’s European Games. Once again the European League confirms its status as a platform for national teams where to test their likes on the international stage, improve on their skills and build up ahead of the next major events they are set to participate in.”
The host of the Final Four Tournament will be announced at a later stage. The organiser plus the first placed team of each Pool and the second placed with the best score will play in the final stage of the competition. Last year’s winners Belgium did not register and therefore the Finals will crown a new champion.
The composition of the two preliminary Pools for the women’s competition reads as follows:
Pool A: Turkey, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan, and Slovenia
Pool B: Germany, Poland, Spain, and Greece
Last year’s champions Germany are back in action but they won’t find it easy to retain their title as another bunch of world-class teams have their sight set on the gold medal. Poland, Azerbaijan, and Slovenia will be making their first appearance in the competition while Greece is returning back after they skipped last year’s European League due to financial constraints.
“This year’s European League will be another high-end competition with four of the participating teams also set to represent Europe at the FIVB World Championship in Italy later this year” CEV President André Meyer comments.
The League Round is made up of six legs with each team playing two matches per weekend; each participating team will play six matches at home and another six away.
The host of the Final Four Tournament is still to be determined and will be joined by the first placed team of each Pool and by the second placed with the best score at the end of the prelims.