Successful COVID-19 protocols at VNL Bubble 2021

VNL bubble saw more than 1,000 participants, 2,250 PCR tests and 7,920 antigen tests over the course of one month with just one positive case registered

Ten days after the end of an action-packed Volleyball Nations League (VNL) 2021, the FIVB and Volleyball World are pleased to confirm the success of the secure VNL bubble in ensuring the health and safety of participants with only one COVID-19 case confirmed at the beginning of the tournament.

The VNL was held in a secure bubble in Rimini, Italy from 25 May to 25 June for the women’s edition and 28 May to 27 June for the men’s edition. The VNL bubble hosted over 1,000 participants with 572 volleyball players competing across a total of 248 matches throughout the month-long competition. The bubble also hosted a TV production team of more than 100 people.

In total, 2,250 PCR and 7,920 antigen tests were performed at the event over the course of 38 days, and an array of other rigorous COVID-19 protocols were closely followed to ensure the health and wellbeing of all participants, which will always be the FIVB’s number one priority.

All participants were required to produce negative test results both prior to their departure to Italy and upon arrival. Further in-competition tests were also compulsory for all participants every four days, along with an exit PCR test before departure.

Following the event, FIVB President Dr Ary S Graça F° said:

“In preparation for the VNL 2021, and during the tournament itself, our ultimate goal was to ensure the health and wellbeing of all members of the global Volleyball Family at the event. Our team of professionals, led by the FIVB Medical Commission and VNL COVID-19 Taskforce, put in place a number of rigorous measures which were key to ensuring a safe, secure and successful VNL 2021.

“We are delighted that all the teams have now safely returned to their home countries. Of course, I would also like to thank the participants for respecting the rules and working together with the FIVB, Volleyball World and the event organisers, RCS Sports and Events, to ensure everyone’s safety which allowed incredible volleyball action to take centre stage.”

Volleyball World CEO Finn Taylor said:

“Protecting the health of everyone involved in the VNL was our number one priority, and my thanks must go to the entire team across Volleyball World, the FIVB and RCS Sports and Events for their commitment to ensuring a safe and secure VNL 2021.

“I would like to thank the VNL participating teams for their cooperation in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of everyone within the bubble. By all working together to follow these strict but necessary COVID-19 protocols, we were able to give the world’s top national teams an opportunity to do what they do best on the court while bringing unbelievable volleyball action to hundreds of millions of fans worldwide.”

The only positive case at the VNL 2021 refers to the bus driver who drove the German men’s national volleyball team from the hotel to the training venue and back. Immediately following the test result, the bus driver was removed from the bubble and placed in quarantine and the German team underwent additional testing with all results coming back negative.