From right to left: FIVB President Ary Graça, French Volleyball Federation President Eric Tanguy and FIVB 2nd Executive Vice-President and CEV President Aleksandar Boricic
Lille, France, March 22, 2018 - Media representatives were gathered at a press conference at Lille's Pierre Mauroy stadium on Wednesday to learn about this year's inaugural edition of the FIVB Volleyball Nations League. FIVB President Dr. Ary S. Graça F° and FIVB 2nd Executive Vice-President and CEV President Aleksandar Boricic were joined by French Volleyball Federation President Eric Tanguy and France coach Laurent Tillie, as well as by Métropole Européenne de Lille President Damien Castelain. The stadium will host the men's finals which will take place from July 4 to 8, a week after the women's finals in Nanjing, China.
The Volleyball Nations League is a revolutionary event from the FIVB, in which 16 countries from each gender will compete to become Volleyball Nations League champion. In both the men’s and women’s leagues, 12 core teams and 4 challenger teams will compete in a round robin format. With a total of 130 matches per gender throughout the league season, every team will play a minimum of 15 matches. The pool rounds will be followed by the finals in Nanjing, China (Women) and Lille, France (Men).
Speaking at the press conference, FIVB President Graça said: "I am very pleased that the men's finals of the Volleyball Nations League will be played in Lille in France, a key country for the FIVB. I am sure the fans will want to be at the fantastic Pierre Mauroy stadium. Its state-of-the-art facilities match our vision for the Volleyball Nations League and will provide spectators with an extraordinary experience. Lille will be a great host of the event."
FIVB 2nd Executive Vice-President and CEV President Boricic said: "France will welcome key competitions in the years ahead, including the Volleyball Nations League Finals in 2018, the Men's European Championship in 2019 and the Olympic Games in 2024. And that is very good for the development of volleyball in the country. Volleyball is a family sport and we hope that a lot of children and families will enjoy the great event in July, participate in the activities surrounding the tournament and watch the matches at the Pierre Mauroy stadium."
Speaking on behalf of the region, Métropole Européenne de Lille President Castelain said: "After football, rugby, basketball, handball and tennis, it is a victory for us to host another sport and another great event at the Pierre Mauroy stadium. Welcoming this event is a wonderful opportunity, it will be an extremely festive event which will help to make the sport even more popular."
France Volleyball Federation President Tanguy said: "The FIVB has put its trust in our ability to organise big events like the Volleyball Nations League Finals. It was one of our federation's goals to welcome back big competitions to our country, and France is back! We have accepted the challenge and will ensure Lille is the capital of volleyball for the duration of the tournament."
France coach Laurent Tillie added: "This is a dream. We participated in the last three editions of the World League Finals. Now we will play in the Volleyball Nations League Finals in front of our fans in Lille. We hope to be able to share this dream with all of our fans."
The press conference was followed by a tour of the Pierre Mauroy stadium, which opened in 2012 and is home to French Ligue 1 football team Lille OSC. The multi-purpose stadium features a retractable roof and a capacity of 28,000 in its arena layout. Ticketing for the event is set to begin in April.
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In the Men's Volleyball Nations League, Brazil, Italy, USA, China, Serbia, France, Argentina, Iran, Poland, Germany, Japan and Russia make up the core teams, while Australia, South Korea, Canada and Bulgaria are the four designated challenger teams.
The 2018 Volleyball Nations League begins on May 15 and ends on July 8. The men's pool rounds will be played over five weeks from May 25 to June 24 and be followed by the finals in Lille from July 4 to 8. The women's pool rounds will be played over five weeks from May 15 to June 14 and be followed by finals in Nanjing, China from June 27 to July 1.
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