Dr Ary S Graça F°: The stage is set for 2022 to be a year of non-stop volleyball and beach volleyball action

FIVB President looks forward to action-packed 2022 both on and off the court in a special edition sport intern op-ed

FIVB President Dr Ary S Graça F° looks ahead with hope and optimism to a very special year for volleyball and beach volleyball in the first edition in 2022 of sport intern, the Olympic News Digest and International Inside Sports Newsletter.

“As the world enters 2022, we remain faced with significant challenges. Make no mistake, the year ahead will not be a return to the world as we once knew it and yet, I remain filled with great hope and optimism that this will be an incredible year for sport and the Olympic Movement. Why? Because we are better equipped than ever to deal with any challenges that come our way.  We know how to adapt without hesitation and remain flexible. And ultimately, we are able to bring the joy of sport to fans worldwide while ensuring the health and well-being of everyone involved.

“For volleyball and beach volleyball in particular, 2022 is set to be a very special year. From both women’s and men’s world championships in volleyball and beach volleyball, to a revamped Volleyball Nations League (VNL) format and brand-new Beach Pro Tour, 2022 will be a year-round festival for our sport. No doubt we will see electrifying action, spectacular feats of sporting excellence and the emergence of champions both old and new.

“Never before in history, have we held three world championships in one year. The first of which will be the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships on 7-19 June in the beautiful city of Rome, Italy. Rome has already proved its beach volleyball credentials with the fantastic 2011 edition of the world championships and more recently, the 2019 FIVB World Tour Finals. The Italian capital understands the key to creating a festival of beach volleyball both on and off the court, and I have no doubt that Rome will deliver a fantastic showcase of the world’s most charming sport.

“Just over two months after our beach volleyball champions are crowned, the Volleyball Family will have the opportunity to witness electrifying action at the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship Russia 2022 from 26 August to 11 September. In the history of this event, there has never been an edition with such a vast geography. And with our athletes taking centre stage across the country, volleyball will create an energy and momentum like never before, inspiring the next generation of players and fans worldwide.   

“Then, just under two weeks later on 23 September, the world’s top women’s national teams will embark on their championship journeys at the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship in the Netherlands and Poland. Both countries have extensive experience in delivering world-class volleyball events, in addition to passionate volleyball fans who will ensure an electric atmosphere.

“As you can see, we have very strong hosts for our major events in 2022, and this is testament to the popularity of our sport, as well as the FIVB’s commitment to embracing innovation in everything we do. This innovation-driven mindset is evident in our groundbreaking partnership with CVC Capital Partners last year, which led to the launch of Volleyball World, the commercial entity for the sport around the world.

“It is also apparent in the new format of the VNL as it enters its fourth edition next year. This revamped format will provide teams, fans and spectators the opportunity to enjoy the very best of volleyball in 12 unique locations around the world, all while reducing travel and allowing for longer promotional activities and fan activations.

“And the new, cutting-edge Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour will also get underway in March 2022 for its inaugural season. An incredible line-up of iconic locations has already been secured across all five of our Continental Confederations. I personally held discussions with the Maldives, Mexico and some other countries that we can now see in the calendar hosting events.

“Away from the court, the FIVB continues to find new ways to support its National Federations and improve the value of volleyball and beach volleyball globally. The revenue that comes from the sport and its events is directly reinvested back into the sport through our comprehensive development programmes. This includes our revolutionary Volleyball Empowerment programme where we help national teams, athletes and National Federations reach their full potential through targeted support, while our application-based support will, as always, remain open 365 days a year for our 222 member federations.

“Indeed, the stage is set for 2022 to be a year of non-stop volleyball and beach volleyball action both on and off the court. But as I mentioned earlier, it will not be without its challenges. So we must all continue to be careful and vigilant, paying meticulous attention to ensuring the health and well-being of the global Volleyball Family.

“Of course, our sport does not exist in isolation and we therefore do not face the challenges ahead alone. Instead, we stand shoulder to shoulder with the Olympic Movement and global sports community, ready to ensure that sport plays its part in the ongoing fight against COVID-19 and recovery thereafter.

“So please all look to the year ahead with great optimism, excitement and determination. The future of sport is bright and, together, we can ensure that it shines ever brighter!

“On behalf of the FIVB, I would like to wish everyone, both within and beyond the global Volleyball Family, good health and happiness in 2022.”