A decisive moment in the history of volleyball’s first 100 years was certainly that of the founding of the FIVB (Federation Internationale de Volleyball) when in April 1947 representatives of 14 countries (Belgium, Brazil, Czechoslovakia, Egypt, France, Netherlands, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Uruguay, USA and Yugoslavia) met in Paris under the leadership of France’s Paul Libaud to found the FIVB. Mr. Libaud, President of the French Federation, was elected first President of the FIVB. The headquarters were established in Paris, where they remained for the first 37 years until 1984 when Mexico’s Dr. Rubén Acosta took over the Presidency from Libaud.
The beginning of the Fivb World Championships
The first World Championships were organised in 1949 for Men and 1952 for Women and both have remained the biggest events in volleyball, along with the Olympic Games, since 1964. The world competitions immediately generated enthusiasm, and the number of players and National Federations affiliated with the FIVB grew by leaps and bounds. Volleyball fever had caught on just about everywhere and increased rapidly. FIVB promoted events began to multiply.
Testifying to the prestige attained in 1959 at the IOC session in Munich, Volleyball was included as a medal sport in the Olympic Games. The game was played with 10 men's and six women's teams for the first time at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, where the Japanese Women and USSR Men won gold medals. Consequently, the Volleyball phenomenon started in Japan soon after the Games. Thirty-two years later in 1996, at the Atlanta Games, Beach Volleyball, one of the world's fastest-growing sports, made its Olympic debut as Volleyball's successful second discipline.
The World cup
In 1965, Poland hosted the first World Cup for Men before Uruguay hosted the first World Cup for Women in 1973. Following the first two editions for Men and the first edition for Women, Japan gave new life to Men’s and Women’s World Cups by staging the third and second editions respectively in 1977. From there on until today, with the sponsorship of Fuji Television, the quadrennial World Cup has become a major event and qualifies three teams for the Olympic Games.
From the 14 founding members the FIVB grew to 45 in 1955, 89 in 1964 and 101 in 1968, distributed over the five continents: 25 in Europe, 25 in Asia, 25 in Africa, 11 in South America, and 15 in NORCECA (North, Central America and the Caribbean). Today the Federation counts 220 affiliated National Federations including 53 in Africa, 65 in Asia, 56 in Europe, 34 in NORCECA and 12 in South America.
Dr Rubén Acosta succeeds President Paul Libaud
One of the big turning points for the FIVB came in 1984 when President Paul Libaud, by then in his 80s and highly acclaimed for having founded the Federation and making it a significant reality on the world sports stage, resigned after 37 years of leadership. Dr. Rubén Acosta was elected new President to succeed Libaud at the World Congress in Long Beach, California.
The FIVB moved its headquarters to Lausanne, Switzerland, the same year, bringing it closer to the International Olympic Committee and providing a wonderful base to promote the sport in worldwide competitions held in the five continents (Asia, Africa, Europe, South America and NORCECA).
From game to great TV spectacle
At the same time, volleyball went through a number of modifications to change the face of the sport. The need to make it more telegenic in order to attract fans and sponsors led to major modifications in 1998, such as the introduction of the Rally Point System, the Libero player, the “let ball in play” rule and many other new rules that makes the game much more attractive.
Change at the helm in 2008
Mr Jizhong Wei of China became the third President in the history of the FIVB after the 31st FIVB World Congress in Dubai approved by acclamation his election following the retirement of Dr. Rubén Acosta after 24 years of outstanding success. Mr Wei, who will be President until elections are held in 2012, immediately ushered in a new era of development for the FIVB with specific concentration being made to support national federations and confederations in their activities and the growth of volleyball around the world.
Investing in development and further federation support
The FIVB spent more in development during 2009 than any other year in its history by allocating increased financial resources to the FIVB confederations to help national federations. The key behind the new initiative is increased support for grass roots development, with the beneficiary in the long term being volleyball right around the world.
In 2010, the FIVB pledged to increase federation support both financially and in terms of resources. A ground-breaking development fund, controlled by the FIVB, was launched to work in line with the IOC’s Olympic Solidarity program where all FIVB national federations have the opportunity to propose projects for funding through their continental confederations.
A brand new FIVB
In 2011 the FIVB launched a new rebranding and marketing campaign in order to usher in a new era for volleyball and beach volleyball. As part of the rebranding a new FIVB logo was unveiled while a key marketing campaign – FIVB Heroes – was launched at the FIVB’s key events aimed at elevating the sport of volleyball globally through its biggest stars.
FIVB-United Nations collaboration
The UN and the FIVB signed a Global Partnership for Development agreement in 2011 where both organisations announced their intention to promote shared values, to drive forward international development and to support the attainment of the UN Millennium Development Goals throughout the world.
New President in 2012
Dr. Ary S. Graça F° was elected as the fourth FIVB President at the FIVB Congress at Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, USA on September 21, 2012, taking over the presidency from Mr Jizhong Wei. Dr. Ary S. Graça F° had previously been president of the Brazil Volleyball Federation and the South American Confederation (CSV), as well as a member of the FIVB Board of Administration.
Today and tomorrow
The FIVB consists of 222 affiliated federations and governs, manages and promotes all forms of volleyball and beach volleyball worldwide through tournaments such as the World Championships, Volleyball Nations League, World Cup, Grand Champions Cup, Club World Championships, FIVB World Tour, FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships, Beach Volleyball Continental Cup and Beach Volleyball World Cup, Junior and Youth tournaments and, of course, the Olympics qualification tournament and the Olympics.