The agreement was signed by André Meyer, President of the European Volleyball Confederation, and Mary Davis, President of Special Olympics, during the inaugural Special Olympics Volleyball and Unified Sports Volleyball Seminar taking place in Belgrade, Serbia from May 14 – 16.
Aleksandar Boricic, President of the Serbian Volleyball Federation, CEV Senior Vice President, and Vice President of the World Volleyball Federation (FIVB) witnessed the signing. Also witnessing the proceedings was Vladimir Grbic, Vice President of the Volleyball Federation of Serbia and a multiple medal winner at the Olympic Games, European and World Championships.
“Volleyball is for everyone and we are committed to playing our part in promoting greater inclusion, respect and acceptance for people with intellectual disabilities in the sport across Europe” said André Meyer, President of the European Volleyball Confederation. “Special Olympics athletes serve as an important reminder to us that volleyball and sport in general provides us with the unique opportunity to go beyond our limits and reveal our true potential.”
CEV will support Special Olympics’ goal of recruiting more athletes and volunteer coaches by strengthening relations with local Federations and allowing for showcasing opportunities during major volleyball events across the region. The partnership follows similar agreements Special Olympics holds with other federations including FIBA Europe, UEFA, Tennis Europe, European Athletics, European Gymnastics Federation (UEG), European Bowling Federation (ETBF), International Floorball Federation (IFF) and Ligue Européenne de Natation (LEN).
The partnership first comes into action at the 2012 CEV Beach Volleyball European Championship Final which is set to take place through May 30-June 3 in Scheveningen, The Hague. On Saturday, June 2nd a total of six Beach Volleyball players, accompanied by two coaches, from Special Olympics The Netherlands and representing the club Twente’05 will play before a large audience of fans and media that are expected to attend the real highlight of this year’s Beach Volleyball calendar.
All of the participants of the Special Olympics Volleyball and Unified Sports Volleyball Seminar present in Belgrade warmly welcomed the partnership. A total of 23 participants representing 11 countries are attending this seminar hosted by Special Olympics Serbia, which includes both theoretical and practical sessions.
Ten individuals are taking part in a Fellowship aimed at enhancing coaching skills required to work with athletes with intellectual disabilities to compete in Volleyball and Football. Five Fellows are from the United States, three from Serbia and two from Montenegro. The Fellowship is funded through a grant from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State.
Volleyball is just one of 31 Olympic-type winter and summer sports of which Special Olympics offers year-round training and competitions to more than four million athletes across the world. Special Olympics Unified Sports® brings athletes with and partners without intellectual disabilities together for training and competition on the same sports teams. Volleyball is a focus in Unified Sports development for the Special Olympics movement in Europe Eurasia.