Lille football stadium to host finale of new FIVB Nations League

The International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) has announced that the inaugural edition of its men’s Nations League Finals will be held at Stade Pierre Mauroy, the home of French Ligue 1 football club Lille.

The 50,000-seat stadium, which is fitted with a retractable roof, will host the event from July 4-8.

The recently-launched Nations League is designed to revolutionise competitive volleyball, and the FIVB hopes the tournament will become one of the most important events in the sport’s history.

The Nations League is a joint venture between the FIVB, the IMG agency and 21 national federations. The men’s and women’s leagues both feature 12 core teams and four challenger teams.

The men’s event features Brazil, Italy, USA, China, Serbia, France, Argentina, Iran, Poland, Germany, Japan and Russia as the core teams, with Australia, South Korea, Canada and Bulgaria to serve as the designated challengers.

The men’s Nations League commences on May 25-27, with five weeks of action planned before the finals in Lille in July.

The FIVB is also working with IMG to produce its content in-house in a move designed to maximise fan engagement in the new competition.

FIVB president Ary Graça said: “Stade Pierre Mauroy reflects our vision for the Volleyball Nations League perfectly. It is an advanced, modern stadium which will give fans an unrivalled experience, whether they are experiencing the atmosphere live or watching at home.

“The FIVB aims to be at the cutting edge of sport entertainment and we firmly believe that State Pierre Mauroy gives us the perfect platform to achieve this goal.”

Stade Pierre Mauroy hosted matches during France’s staging of football’s Uefa Euro 2016 national team tournament. The venue, which opened in 2012, also hosted the knockout phase of the EuroBasket national team basketball tournament in 2015 and has previously staged tennis and handball events.

France is due to co-host next year’s men’s European Volleyball Championship alongside Belgium, the Netherlands and Slovenia.

French Volleyball Federation president Eric Tanguy said: “A little over a year before the European Championship takes place in France, these events will also provide us with a full-scale rehearsal.”