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Italy and Bulgaria Presidents watch on as FIVB Men’s World Championship gets underway!

FIVB President Dr. Ary S. Graça F° with the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella.
Rome, Italy and Varna, Bulgaria, September 11, 2018 - President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella, and President of Bulgaria, Rumen Radev, joined thousands of fans to watch their respective nations begin the 2018 FIVB Men’s Volleyball World Championship with a win. Jointly hosted by Italy and Bulgaria, the Championship’s opening matches involving both home teams drew capacity crowds as well as high ranking officials.

President Mattarella was guest of honour as co-hosts Italy got their 2018 campaign off to the perfect start with a 3-0 victory over Japan. Alongside FIVB President Dr Ary S. Graça F°, Italian National Olympic Committee President Giovanni Malagò, President of the Italian Volleyball Federation Pietro Bruno Cattaneo and many more national and international dignitaries, President Mattarella joined the 11,170-strong partisan crowd at the Foro Italico in Rome. The Rio 2016 Olympic Games silver medallists’ dominant performance was spearheaded by Ivan Zaytsev’s powerful attack and, with home advantage on their side, Italy will prove fierce competition for all contenders throughout the three-week event.

Bulgarian President Rumen Radev congratulates the country’s volleyball head coach Plamen Konstantinov following the victory.

And in Varna last night, the home side Bulgaria fared just as successfully as their co-hosts, sweeping aside Finland 3-0 to take a commanding lead in Pool D. President Radev was joined by his Minister for Sport, Krasen Kralev, in the Palace of Culture and Sport, where Bulgaria star Nikolay Uchikov whipped the crowd into a frenzy with 14 points.

The presence of such influential figures at the Men’s World Championship highlighted the true value and excitement of the sport, and the FIVB once again demonstrated its innovative approach to growing the sport by engaging the crowd and creating an amazing atmosphere in spectacular venues.

A sellout crowd of 11,170 filled the Foro Italico in Rome for the 2018 FIVB Men's World Championship match between Italy and Japan.

Following the two opening night fixtures, President Ary Graça said:

“What an incredible night and an amazing start to the Men’s World Championship. Both our hosts gave their fans something to cheer about long into the night, and I have no doubt we are in for another exhilarating event!”

In front of an energetic crowd of 4500 fans in the Palace of Culture and Sport in Varna, the Bulgarian team claimed victory over Finland.

The finals will take place in Turin, Italy, from 26-30 September. For more information or to buy tickets, please visit:

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