Momentous 12 months marks one-year anniversary of President Graça
Lausanne, Switzerland, September 21, 2013 – Innovation, achievement and development are what will mark Dr. Ary S. Graça F°’s one-year anniversary as President of the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) on Saturday.
Twelve months ago, the former South American Confederation and Brazil Federation President was elected to take over from China’s Jizhong Wei as the fourth FIVB President at the FIVB Congress in Anaheim, USA and since then has realised an impressive number of initiatives and projects, placing the bar high for his next three years in office.
When President Graça took over the reins of leadership at the FIVB on September 21, 2012 he left people without any doubt of his long term vision and plans for the sport of volleyball and its governing institution.
At the heart of the President’s key goals was the need for the FIVB to embrace change in order to make volleyball, and the way the sport is brought to audiences around the world, more appealing and dynamic for today’s generation.
"We have a great opportunity to turn volleyball into one of the world's most popular sports but we have to be innovative and we have to be courageous to think outside the box," Dr. Graça, 70, said at the start of his presidency.
As a former volleyball player and accomplished businessman himself, the President has brought together a love for the sport with his specific ability to lead and organise stakeholders so as to achieve short and long term plans. His agenda for change have included the following priorities:
The vision of President Graça, who launched the successful Beach Volleyball Continental Cup in 2010 when he was FIVB Beach Volleyball Commission President, was evident immediately.
A record-breaking FIVB beach volleyball calendar aimed at creating new opportunities for players was unveiled at the start of 2013. This year, for the first time ever, Grand Slams were clearly established as the core events while the number of Open events was expanded to give teams more opportunities and options to participate.
Volleyball also saw an expansion in the number of teams in the World League and World Grand Prix, giving more countries from around the world the chance to participate in these premier FIVB events.
The introduction of the inaugural FIVB Volleyball and Beach Volleyball U23 World Championships provided yet another opportunity for age-group players to participate in an international tournament with the goal of reducing the gap between age-group and senior level volleyball, while innovation was evident with the new Video Challenge System used for the first time during the FIVB Volleyball World League and the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix.
"In order for our sport to stay current and appealing, a revision of our rules, laws and regulations is inevitable,” the President said.
On the organisational front the President moved swiftly to set out a new investment strategy for the sport’s governing body in order to streamline lines expenditure and maximise revenue. Then in May the President announced a ground-breaking sponsorship deal with Japanese car manufacturer Honda, who became the first ever official partner for professional and elite volleyball and beach volleyball.
Continuing the motto that money from sport should go back to sport, development was another key goal of the President, who, using a model successfully introduced in South America and NORCECA, forged partnerships with key federations to grow the sport in Africa and Asia as well as parts of Europe. With plans in place to help the bottom-up development of the sport of volleyball, the President is well on his way to furthering his goal of taking the sport to all corners of the world.
In a just a short period of time the President has shown that he is not just a manager but someone with a sound knowledge of volleyball. Known for taking to the courts himself, the President has shown that volleyball has an exciting future and under his leadership has no limit to innovation and development over the next three years.