Italian Prime Minister attends FIVB World League Finals in Florence
Italy Prime Minister Matteo Renzi joined 9,000 other passionate volleyball fans in the Nelson Mandela Forum in Florence on Friday as he cheered on the host nation, Italy, during their 3-0 victory over Australia. The Italians eventually bowed out in the semifinals against world No. 1 Brazil, who fell short of the top prize as they were defeated by USA in a gripping final, 3-1.
The four-day competition which ran in Florence from July 16-20 and its success was widely attributed to the innovative changes that the FIVB introduced as part of their ongoing commitment to developing the sport. One of the biggest changes to this year’s premier men’s volleyball event was the decision to increase the number of participating nations from 18 to 28. This had an instant impact on the quality of play on the court and also on the number of spectators in the stands.
Following the successful event President Graça said: “The 2014 FIVB Volleyball World League Finals in Florence provided a fitting conclusion to what has been the best ever edition of the FIVB Volleyball World League. We are delighted to have seen the positive impact our changes have made. The reaction from the athletes and the fans has been excellent and this has really raised the bar for all future competitions.
“We are confident that retaining the 2014 formula for next year’s event will allow us to build on this momentum and ensure that we continue to deliver the best possible experience for athletes and fans. Our focus now turns to next month’s Men’s World Championship in Poland which I am sure will deliver an equally high standard of elite volleyball competition.”
The quadrennial FIVB Men’s World Championship event will be held in Poland between August 30 and September 21. The opening match, Poland-Serbia, will be held in the iconic National Stadium and many VIPs from the global sports community are expected to attend.