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Beach volleyball league kicks off in Iran

Players participating in the Khazar Cup
Tehran, Iran, January 20, 2015 - In recent years, the Volleyball Federation of Iran has reaped the success of measures to promote the sport by organising leagues in a variety of different categories. This year sees the federation also set up a beach volleyball league, which will start out on its path next to more well-established competitions, including men's and women's volleyball leagues.

Setting up a domestic beach volleyball league had been high on the wish list in Iran for a few years, and on January 17 this wish became reality with an inaugural beach volleyball competition kicking off on Kish Island. The federation's beach volleyball commission has also been transformed into an organisation in its own right, focusing on identifying sponsors, setting up a budget, training specialists, and recruiting staff.

The first stage of the plan put in place sees 19 teams participate in a preliminary round on the beach volleyball courts on Kish Island. Steps 2 to 5 will take place over the coming weeks on Gheshm Island and in three cities located on the coast of the Persian Gulf: Chahbahar, Boushehr and Bandar Abbass.

“It is the first round of the league. As we still lack experience, I would request all the players, coaches, organising committee members and media people to give us their full assistance,” said Kasra Ghafouri, Secretary General of the beach volleyball organisation. He also noted that the championship is organised with an eye to expand and develop the sport in the country. The best players in the championship will be invited to preparation camps to represent Iran in international competitions.

The 19 teams participating in the competition are divided into four groups, determined by means of a draw. The preliminary round will decide the top teams in each group. Player points will be calculated over three championship phases.

The drawing of lots took place on Saturday night at the Kish International Convention Center. Local sports authorities, members of  the Volleyball Federation of Iran's beach volleyball organisation, participating teams, referees, members of the organising committee and media representatives were present at the event.

Prize money will be paid to the teams in line with the competition's ranking. The total amount of cash made available is $75,000, which will be distributed to the top eight teams as follows: 30 percent for the first team, 23 percent for the second team, 16 percent for the third team, 12 percent for the fourth team, 7 percent for the fifth team, 5 percent for the sixth team, 4 percent for the seventh team, and finally 3 percent for the eighth team.

Preliminary round matches were played on Sunday, January 18, with matches set to take place over three days on two beach volleyball courts.

The referees were briefed by Mr Omidvar Hatami, head of the volleyball federation's Refereeing Committee. The International Volleyball Federation's rules and regulations for refereeing beach volleyball were explained in detail. The referees also discussed how best to operate during the championship.

Iran's beach volleyball athletes can also look forward to participating in qualification tournaments for the Olympic Games, the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships and the Asian Beach Volleyball Championships in due course.


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