“When I was elected FIVB President just over a year ago, I knew it was important for everyone to share a common vision and set of goals. At the beginning of 2013 our stakeholders collectively outlined key points for the future, which included:
1) Giving players more opportunities for competition;
2) Ensuring the development of our sport;
3) Increasing partnerships within the volleyball family and with other international organisations and;
4) Making the game more interesting for fans.
“On the back of a successful Continental Cup cycle, we increased the number of beach volleyball events to give players more opportunities to participate and more countries the chance to host high level competitions. We also increased the number of teams taking part in the World League and the World Grand Prix, which opened the field for less experienced teams to try and make their mark on the sport. We also introduced the U23 Beach and Volleyball World Championships, giving this age-group more playing experience before making the jump to senior level competition.
“But it was clear to everyone that grassroots investment was necessary to ensure sustainable, long term development of our sport. To further our development agenda, we invested a huge amount of money to help Confederations improve and grow the technical abilities and know-how of their referees, coaches and young players. Using the development model used in NORCECA and South America, the FIVB is now using key federations to grow the sport in Africa and Asia as well as parts of Europe.
“Of course this has meant closer coordination with national federations around the world and a strengthening of our corporate governance. Over the year I have put much emphasis on meeting with presidents of national federations as much as possible to try and create mutual understanding and cooperation for the benefit of the entire community.
“To keep our sport fresh, dynamic, exciting and innovative, it was evident that we needed to create partnerships with the wider sporting community as well as those outside of volleyball.
“To this end I have felt it was important to develop our relationship with the International Olympic Committee. Together with officials from the IOC we are working hard to increase the success of our sport at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Through my work with the IOC’s Sport for All Commission I have also been able to show first-hand how volleyball can be used for the development of societies around the world.
“Casting our net wider, we secured an important partnership with Japanese car manufacturer Honda in May. They are the FIVB’s first ever official partner for professional and elite volleyball and beach volleyball and will work with us for the next four years. Like us they are constantly innovating to keep their product more spectacular, entertaining and engaging for fans.
“In the interests of keeping the game fair and interesting to our fans we also introduced the Challenge System for volleyball and tested the 21 point per set rule for the U23 Men’s Volleyball World Championship. By keeping the game fresh and modern, we hope to inspire and develop a new generation of players and fans for our beloved sport.
“The volleyball family has accomplished a lot in 2013 and it is a pleasure to bring to a close a very successful year for the sport.
“I would like to take this opportunity to extend my warmest wishes to you and the volleyball family around the world for the holiday season and to extend my thanks to the national federations around the world for their tireless efforts in helping to advance the game of volleyball.
“I know that 2014 will be an excellent one and that we will achieve bigger and better things as we continue to work closely together.”
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