FIVB President reflects on challenging but productive year

FIVB President Ary S. Graça F° reflects on 2020 and praises the global Volleyball Family’s unwavering unity, strength and resilience

Dear members of the global Volleyball Family, Dear friends,

As 2020 draws to an end, we can reflect on what has been a very different year to the one we all imagined.

Together, we have faced significant challenges. Instead of a year of incredible sporting action, we have seen the necessary postponement of events worldwide to ensure the health and wellbeing of our athletes. But despite all of these challenges, the FIVB’s strong leadership and vision have allowed us to weather the storm and end 2020 in a strong position. And the commitment, spirit and unwavering passion of the global Volleyball Family has helped guide and inspire these efforts throughout the past year.

On the volleyball court, a team must work as one and focus point by point to find success. In this spirit, off the court, we have worked as one team and supported each other as we tackled the challenges before us to move out sport forward step by step.

As the pandemic significantly disrupted the global sporting calendar, we created the FIVB Athletes' Relief Support fund to support our incredible volleyball and beach volleyball athletes. This fund assisted 80 players worldwide for basic needs support, allowing them to concentrate on their health, wellbeing and training. We are still processing 45 applications for short-term beach volleyball team support to assist with coaching, training and participation in competitions. These applications will be analysed at a later stage when the international beach volleyball calendar is finalised.

We also continued to support all 222 of our National Federations through the FIVB Development Projects Platform, raising the standard of volleyball across the globe and making the game accessible to all. All of which would not have been possible without the strong financial foundation established by the FIVB’s Leadership over the past few years.

Meanwhile, we strengthened our family and made history with the election of the first-ever women to lead the African and Asian Continental Confederations, Bouchra Hajij and Rita Subowo respectively. Both have extensive experience within volleyball and sports administration, and I have no doubt that they will further the development of volleyball and gender equality in sport.

We have also reinforced our connection with volleyball’s hundreds of millions of fans worldwide. There is no doubt that 2020 has highlighted just how important digital is in connecting and engaging with a global audience. For the past four years, the FIVB had already embraced the digital era with technology at its core as I promised in my 2016 election campaign.

In 2020, this digital transformation continued to accelerate as we brought fans across the globe more incredible points, epic rallies and magical game moments in the absence of live sport. Our existing social media platforms have continued to see tremendous growth with more than 8 million followers across the various platforms, welcoming all of them to enjoy action-packed content with us.

In addition, we offered fans unlimited access to Volleyball TV for most of this year, giving fans the chance to enjoy some of the greatest moments of the game and their favourites stars and teams in action.

In April, we expanded our digital portfolio and joined the fast-growing platform, TikTok. In just eight months, our following has grown to over 600,000, allowing even more fans to enjoy the unbelievable feats of our athletes through clever use of archived footage. And we cannot wait to be able to bring fresh action to this platform in 2021.

So I would like to thank you all for the important role you played in another successful year for volleyball. I know that we can all be extremely proud of our united effort to strengthen our sport and all that we have achieved in the face of adversity.

I wish you all season’s greetings and a happy new year.

Yours in sport,

FIVB President