The Founding

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.

Olympic Games

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.

Members rising

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 Move

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.

President Ary Graça was re-elected for a further 8-year term at the FIVB Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2016. His current mandate will run until 2024. 

Enhanced Sports Presentation

The FIVB President’s electoral campaign, “Innovation and Opportunity”, started a new era in the FIVB with technology at its core. A new standard of sports presentation was introduced at the 2014 FIVB Volleyball World Championships in Poland which saw huge fan attendance including over 62,000 people attending the opening match. 

Since then, the FIVB has been continually developed and enhanced its sports presentation ensuring fans are engaged and entertained before, during and after the match. New elements of sports presentation were introduced during the Olympic Games Rio 2016, with the FIVB the only International Federation to invest its own money into this area at the Games. The investment paid off with 99.9 per cent of available tickets for volleyball and beach volleyball sold. Spectators were clearly inspired by the incredible athlete performances, but also engaged by the entertaining and fun environment around these events, which brought the Brazilian carnival spirit to the competitions. Away from the venues, volleyball was also the most watched sport in terms of viewer hours (according to the official IOC Data Report). Subsequently, sports presentation will be a core focus for the FIVB at Tokyo 2020. 

At present, throughout FIVB events elements such as DJs, announcers, lighting, giant video screens, sound systems and more are used to engage spectators and involve them as active participants in events. 


Chalenge System

The Olympic Games Rio 2016 also saw the introduction of the Challenge System. This system helps to promote fair play and accuracy by allowing players, coaches and referees to challenge decisions for an instant-review. 

Over the course of the Rio 2016 volleyball event, teams requested 399 challenges in total, of which 159 were successful (40% success rate). Meanwhile, in beach volleyball, 52 successful challenges were registered out of 171 requested (30% success rate). 

The FIVB now uses the Challenge system at all of its official events to create fairer competition, more accurate decisions and a better experience for athletes, fans and officials. Its implementation into professional volleyball has truly been a game changer.


Growth of the Beach Volleyball

Beach volleyball has seen tremendous growth over the past decade, and three hugely successful editions of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships.

The 2015 edition was hosted by the Netherlands with a unique four city concept, and attracted a record total attendance of 110,000 fans, with stadiums full for every single match. The King and Queen of the Netherlands were also present to enjoy the incredible atmosphere of the event and amazing action on court. 

In 2017, the championships were held in Vienna, Austria, with a total of 170,000 spectators over 10 days. Among them were the IOC President Thomas Bach, as well as various IOC members and senior administration.

The latest edition of the event, the 2019 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships, in Hamburg, Germany, welcomed over 130,000 spectators throughout 10 days of fierce competition in the Stadion Am Rothenbaum. Action from the stadium was also witnessed by 158 million viewers worldwide, with 77 broadcasters showing the event in 112 countries.


Hosting Opportunities for multi-country BIDS

In 2018, the FIVB Volleyball World Championships were held in Italy and Bulgaria for the men’s edition, whilst Japan hosted the women’s edition. For the first time in history, a prestigious FIVB event was co-hosted by two countries, creating more opportunities and interest from potential hosts and sponsors. 

Both of these events demonstrated spectacular reach, and attracted more than 16.7 million web page views. In addition, more than one million new users joined the FIVB website, with more than 17,000 articles published about the event (a potential reach of 17 billion) and 136 million euros in equivalent advertising value. Meanwhile, on social media, the event generated more than 102 million impressions!

The success of the co-hosted 2018 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championships sparked huge interest from other nations. In fact, the Netherlands and Poland have already been jointly awarded the right to co-host the 2022 FIVB Women’s Volleyball World Championships, with Russia to host the men’s edition.


Volleybal Revolution

At the FIVB’s 70th anniversary celebrations in Paris, the FIVB President Ary Graça announced the Volleyball Nations League (VNL), a truly global event which launched in 2018 to bring volleyball closer to fans worldwide. The VNL is proud to promote gender equality through sport, with the same number of matches, event format and prize money for men and women.

Every aspect of the VNL is inspired by volleyball. For example, the logo and typography of the event branding are inspired by the movement of a volleyball, while the  medals and trophy have adopted the signature VNL style to stand out from the crowd. In addition, the back of every medal is engraved with the trajectory of an iconic point from the final, making them truly unique.

In only its second season, in 2019, the VNL generated a digital impact that has resonated all over the world: 106,000 million event impressions, a cumulative digital audience of 1490 million and 9459 broadcast hours. 


Snow Volleyball

The FIVB has pledged its commitment to develop snow volleyball in collaboration with the European Volleyball Federation (CEV). The FIVB and CEV hosted a Snow Volleyball Night during the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 at the Austria House. This was a huge success with many IOC members attending, including the reigning HSH the Sovereign Prince of Monaco Albert II. Media from across the globe reported on the “legends” match. 

Following this, the FIVB launched the inaugural Snow Volleyball World Tour in 2019. All five Continental Confederations were represented by teams, demonstrating the hunger from all nations to engage in winter sports. The tour was hosted across three spectacular locations in Austria, Italy and Argentina. 


Good Governance

The FIVB is committed to promoting good governance both on and off the court, working closely with its partners and stakeholders to ensure transparency and credibility.

At the start of 2019, the FIVB Executive Committee launched its updated strategy, setting out a new and re-imagined set of “11 Goals” that will help the International Federation achieve its vision of being the world’s number one family sport.


Aligned with the IOC and the Olympic Movement

The FIVB President Dr. Ary S. Graça Fᵒ is an active member of the sports movement and has a fantastic relationship with the International Olympic Committee, its President Dr. Thomas Bach, members of the IOC, as well as many other sports leaders around the world.  

President Ary Graça is also a member of the IOC Marketing Commission, and regularly contributes with his knowledge and expertise to support the growth of the global sports movement.

Digital Transformation

The FIVB has accelerated its digital transformation in all areas of its work, while bringing the fans closer than ever to sport through a video focused content strategy. Now, fans worldwide can enjoy more incredible points, epic rallies and magical game moments.

Additionally, the FIVB launched Volleyball TV to ensure fans never miss one second of incredible action. Whether they are watching live, full length match replays or highlights, Volleyball TV has all the action covered.

The new strategy has also seen the FIVB’s social media following grow exponentially, with the organisation’s Instagram already surpassing one million followers. Meanwhile, on Facebook, the FIVB is ranked as the third most followed International Federation.


Global Growth

The FIVB actively supports all five of its Continental Confederations and 222 affiliated National Federations by investing in athletes, coaches and facilities to both raise the standard of volleyball worldwide, and make the game more accessible to all.

The FIVB is committed to supporting national teams by improving coaching, which is one of the organisation’s key development pillars. Every National Federation can apply for support via the FIVB Projects Platform, which aims to promote the development of players and teams across the world by providing coaching support or volleyball equipment. In 2019, the FIVB received 119 applications, of which 103 were approved, representing an impressive 86.5% approval rate. 


Key Dates

  • 1954: Asian Confederation is created as a Zone Commission
  • 1958: South America is created as a Zone Commission
  • 1963: European Confederation is created as a Zone Commission
  • 1967: African Confederation is created as a Zone Commission
  • 1969: NORCECA (North, Central American and Caribbean) Confederation is created as a Zone Commission
  • 1972: The five Continental Zone Sport Commissions are recognized as Continental Confederations.
  • 1993: FIVB becomes the largest sports organisation in the world with 210 affiliated member associations.

FIVB Presidents

1947-1984  Paul Libaud (FRA)
1984-2008  Rubén Acosta (MEX)
2008-2012  Jizhong Wei (CHN)
2012- present  Dr Ary S.Graça F° (BRA)

FIVB World Congress History

Dates Location Number of delegates from NF*
1 18-20 Apr 1947 Paris (FRA) 14
2 12-18 Sept 1949 Prague (CZE) 11
3 18-22 Sept 1951 Paris (FRA) 23
4 14-16 Nov 1953 Bucharest (ROM) 20
5 25-27 Nov 1955 Florence (ITA) 23
6 7-8 Sept 1957 Moscow (RUS) 30
7 2-6 Oct 1959 Budapest (HUN) 32
8 6-11 Sept 1961 Marseille (FRA) 34
9 16-20 Oct 1964 Tokyo (JPN) 46
10 8-10 Sept 1966 Prague (CZE) 47
11 18-22 Oct 1968 Mexico City (MEX) 74
12 25-29 Sept 1970 Sofia (BUL) 70
13 4-6 Sept 1972 Munich (GER) 81
14 9-10 Oct 1974 Mexico City (MEX) 79
15 28-29 July 1976 Montreal (CAN) 77
16 29-30 Sept 1978 Rome (ITA) 70
17 31 July - 1 Aug 1980 Moscow (RUS) 84
18 29-30 Sept 1982 Buenos Aires (ARG) 88
19 25-26 July 1984 Los Angeles (USA) 90
20 5-6 Sept 1986 Prague (CZE) 62
21 14-15 Sept 1988 Seoul (KOR) 91
22 13-14 Oct 1990 Rio de Janeiro (BRA) 101
23 21-22 July 1992 Barcelona (ESP) 110
24 23-24 Sept 1994 Athens (GRE) 134
25 14-16 July 1996 Atlanta (USA) 134
26 26-28 Oct 1998 Tokyo (JPN) 139
27 2-4 Aug 2000 Seville (ESP) 156
28 21-23 Sept 2002 Buenos Aires (ARG) 177
29 12-13 May 2004 Porto (POR) 168
30 23-25 Oct 2006 Tokyo (JPN) 196
31 16-17 June 2008 Dubai (UAE) 184
32 9-10 Sept 2010 Rome (ITA) 195
33 19-21 Sept 2012 Anaheim (USA) 206
34 30 Oct-Nov 1 2014 Cagliari (ITA) 210
35 4-6 Oct 2016 Buenos Aires (ARG) 200
36 15-16 Nov 2018 Cancun (MEX) 198
* incl. proxies