The International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) has adopted a new co-hosting model for its Volleyball Men’s World Championship by awarding the 2018 edition of the national team event to Italy and Bulgaria.
This approach marks the latest initiative by FIVB to promote innovation in the sport after the Netherlands’ 2015 Beach Volleyball World Championships was hosted by four cities for the first time earlier this year.
FIVB president Ary Graça said: “We are pleased that the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship will take place in two countries with a long tradition of volleyball – the semi-finals and finals taking place in Italy. I am sure Italy and Bulgaria, who have both already organised World Championships, will organise a competition to remember in 2018, in the same year Japan will host the Women's World Championship.”
The 2018 Volleyball Men’s World Championship will be the 19th edition of the FIVB’s top competition for men’s national teams. It will come after the record-breaking 2014 tournament in Poland, which saw over half a million fans attend the 103 matches in the competition.
Both Italy and Bulgaria have already played host to Men’s World Championships. Italy last organised the Men’s World Championship in 2010, when Brazil claimed the title in Rome. Italy also hosted the men’s event in 1978 and organised the Women’s World Championship in 2014. Bulgaria hosted both the Men’s and Women’s World Championships in 1970.
The award of the FIVB showpiece comes after Italy and Bulgaria co-hosted the 2015 Men's European Volleyball Championship from October 9-18. Bulgarian Minister for Youth and Sport Krassen Kralev said: “We had a very successful European Championship, but this is an even bigger event – one of the biggest in our sporting history. It’s a big challenge but a great opportunity at the same time.”
Italian Volleyball Federation (FIPAV) president Carlo Magri added: “Once again, the FIVB has decided to recognise the organisational skills of the Italian Volleyball Federation, highlighted by the recent events organised by the federation. To organise World Championships in 2010, 2014 and 2018 in a difficult economic context is proof of the good work done by FIPAV.”