Olympic final rematch confirmed as 2017 World League draw completed
Olympic champions Brazil will take on silver medallists Italy in the opening week of the 2017 FIVB Volleyball World League
The Olympic final in Maracanazinho, which Brazil won 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-20) 23 days ago, was an epic affair with an electric atmosphere and all of the world’s volleyball fans will now have their eyes on their opening World League encounter next year.
Brazil beat Italy in last year's World League Finals in Krakow, Poland
The Brazil v Italy matchup is one of the most popular encounters in international volleyball with both countries steeped in volleyball tradition and passion. It also features the two most successful sides in the World League with Brazil - last year’s runners-up – boasting nine titles and Italy eight. They have played each other 34 times in the World League with Brazil leading the head to head 18:16.
The draw, which was overseen by FIVB President Dr. Ary S. Graça F° and conducted by World League Council President Renato Arena, sees Italy host Brazil, Poland and Iran on the opening weekend of matches, while title-holders Serbia will welcome USA, Canada and Belgium in Pool B1 and last year’s bronze medalists France, Bulgaria and Argentina will travel to Russia.
Meanwhile, a repeat of this year’s FIVB Volleyball World League final between title holders Serbia and Brazil will take place in Week 3 on the weekend of June 16-18 in Argentina.
The following pools were drawn.
The venues in each country will be confirmed at a later date while an official bidding process for the Finals of each Group will be launched later this week with Brazil (Group 1), Australia (Group 2) and Mexico and Austria/Germany (Group 3) already having expressed interest.
The World League Council confirmed that next year’s World League will adopt the same format as 2016, when a record 36 teams participated in the competition. The 36 teams have been split into three groups of 12 teams and will play the Preliminary Round in a pool format over three weeks, before the best teams gather for the Finals in each Group.
The Group 1 Preliminary Round will take place from June 2-4, June 9-11 and June 16-18, and be followed by the Finals, featuring six teams, from June 28 to July 2. The Group 2 Preliminary Round dates are the same as for Group 1 - the Finals, featuring four teams, will take place from June 23 to 25. Finally, the Group 3 Preliminary Round will take place on June 2-4 and June 9-11, with Finals on June 16-18.
Serbia claimed their first ever World League title in 2016 beating Brazil in the final
The World League prize money of $1m remains unchanged for the 2017 edition however participating teams will have to feature eight players out of 14 from the last World League and six players out of 12 from the last Olympic Games. Teams will register 21 players six weeks before the beginning of the competition, bringing that list down to 18 players four weeks before the beginning of the competition and down to 14 players by May 31.
FIVB Volleyball World League 2016
The top teams in each Group in 2016 are promoted for next year's competition, while the bottom teams are relegated. Australia move down to Group 2 in 2017 while Canada will play in Group 1. Due to Cuba's withdraw, Portugal remain in Group 2, while Slovenia move up from Group 3 to Group 2. Puerto Rico was a late withdrawal and was replaced by European League bronze medallists Austria in Group 3.
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