CEV puts European volleyball season on hiatus

VakifBank in action against Dinamo Moscow during the 2020 CEV Champions League Women (by Ahmet Dumanli/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The Confédération Européenne de Volleyball (CEV), the sport’s governing body in Europe, has today (Tuesday) announced it will postpone all events until further notice due to Covid-19.

The announcement comes on the back of an earlier decision to postpone all events until April 3, with the CEV today stating it has since witnessed an escalation of the pandemic across Europe, resulting in a number of governments calling a state of emergency and national federations stopping their respective leagues.

The International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) also confirmed changes to its calendar on Friday, postponing the Volleyball Nations League until after the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The only exception to the CEV’s policy is the men’s CEV Cup semi-final matches between the Russian teams of Zenit Saint Petersburg and Lokomotiv Novosibirsk, which will continue as planned on Thursday and March 26.

The remainder of the 2020 Snow Volleyball season will be cancelled in its entirety. CEV president Aleksandar Boričić said: “This has been a hard and painful decision, which we have taken with the health and safety of our players, officials and fans in mind.

“However, considering the overall situation across Europe and aiming to provide clear guidance and to allow reasonable planning for all stakeholders, we had to make this decision now. We will further monitor the situation and work together with all of our stakeholders in order to find mutual solutions depending on the further development of the crisis.”

The CEV has sealed two major commercial deals this month. The organisation yesterday agreed a long-term betting streaming and data rights deal with IMG Arena. The betting arm of the IMG agency completed a rights deal for events across volleyball, beach volleyball and snow volleyball to boost its offering to its bookmaker clients.

Advisers Media International, the independent sports rights distribution company, brokered the agreement on behalf of the CEV and retained all betting category sponsorship rights for all CEV events.

At its recent extraordinary general assembly in Vienna, the CEV ratified a 12-year global media-rights and production agreement with the Infront agency. That deal is understood to be worth €106m ($116.8m) in rights fees, production spend and services.