World League expands to 28 countries

Lausanne, Dec 1, 2013: The FIVB World League Council confirmed during its annual one-day meeting at the FIVB head office in Lausanne, Switzerland on Sunday an exciting and ground breaking structure for the FIVB Volleyball World League 2014 with the FIVB’s premier annual men’s volleyball event expanding from 18 countries to 28 for the first time ever.

“This is an historic moment for the FIVB and the World League,” FIVB President Dr. Ary S. Graça F° said to the 28 federations represented in the meeting. “This new direction is all about growing volleyball and providing opportunities for federations to play.

“It is very clear for me, the future is today and we are doing something different. This is the new era and I would like to congratulate the new countries who are involved, who now have an opportunity to play on the world stage.”

The 28 teams have been split into seven pools.

Pool A

Pool B

Pool C

Pool D

Pool E

Pool F

Pool G

BRA (1)

RUS (2)

BEL (37)*

ARG (7)

NED (31)

TUN (13)*

PUR (20)

ITA (3)

USA (4)

CAN (11)

GER (10)

KOR (21)

TUR (45)*

CHN (18)

POL (5)

BUL (6)

AUS (14)

FRA (16)

POR (38)

CUB (7)

SVK (36)*

IRI (12)

SRB (9)

FIN (30)

JPN (17)

CZE (22)

MEX (22)*

ESP (25)

( ) Numbers in brackets denotes world ranking

* First time in World League

Pool A features two of the most successful countries in the 24-year history of the World League with world No. 1 and nine-time champions Brazil along with eight time winners Italy, 2012 champions Poland and the rapidly improving Iran.

In Pool B are defending champions Russia, 2012 silver medallists USA, this year’s fourth-placed team Bulgaria and four-time runner’s up Serbia.

Pool C features first time participants Belgium along with Canada, Australia and Finland while Argentina, Germany, France and Japan are in Pool D. Pool E features the Netherlands, Korea, the Czech Republic – who return to the World League after making their only previous appearance in 2003 – and Portugal.

Last year’s 13th place finishers Cuba are joined in Pool F by World League debutants Tunisia, Turkey and Mexico whilst Pool G sees Puerto Rico return after making their only appearance in 2011, China and Spain return after last appearing in 2010 and 2008 respectively while Slovakia will make their World League debut.

During the Intercontinental Round, Pools A to E will play double home and away matches, for a total of 12 matches per team. Pool F & G will feature two stand-alone tournaments per pool involving the four teams in the pool.

The World League Intercontinental Round will start on the weekend of May 23 to 25 with Pool A & B holding a Final Six – the top two teams in each pool (A & B), the hosts and the winner from the Final Four from Pools C, D and E – on the week of July 16 to 20.

Pools C, D and E will also have six rounds before their Final 4 on the weekend of July 4 to 6.

The Final Four for Pools F & G is expected to take place on June 27 to 29.

The last ranked team of Pool A & B after the Intercontinental Round could be relegated if the winner of the Final Four of Pools C, D and E can meet the promotion requirements set by the FIVB.

Provisional Intercontinental Round calendar

Weekends Pool A & B Pools C, D & E Pools F & G
May 23-25 Round 1
May 30 – June 1 Round 1 Round 2
June 6-8 Round 2 Round 3 Four team tournament (TBC)
June 13-15 Round 3 Round 4 Four team tournament (TBC)
June 20-22 Round 4 Round 5 Rest week
June 27-29 Round 5 Round 6 Final Four (TBC)
July 4-6 Round 6 Final Four
July 11-13 Rest week Rest week
July 16-20 Final Six Final Six (for the winner)

This year the World League featured 18 teams for the first time having had 16 teams from 2001-2003 and 2006-2012. The World League featured eight teams in its inaugural year in 1990, 10 in 1991 and then 12 from 1992-2000 and 2004-05.

The next FIVB meeting is the FIVB World Grand Prix Council on Monday. —- FIVB

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