What is the Federation Internationale de Volleyball?

The Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) is the international body that administers all forms of volleyball in the world. The 75 years old organisation was instituted in France, and currently, its headquarters are in Switzerland’s capital Lausanne. 

This article offers a brief insight into the history and the current status of the Federation Internationale de Volleyball.

Federation Internationale de Volleyball History

The Federation Internationale de Volleyball was created in 1947 in France. Prior to the formation of the FIVB, volleyball was managed by the International Amateur Handball federation. However, in the later part of the 1940s, some national federations across Europe raised concern about volleyball not having an independent international governing association.

This paved the way for discussions about establishing a governing body for volleyball. A Constitutive Congress was formed in 1947 as a result of these discussions, and around 14 national federations from different continents came together to establish the FIVB. 

The first international event held under the supervision of the FIVB was the World Championship in 1952. Soon after, a similar event was also introduced for women’s teams. In the next ten years or so, around 89 national volleyball federations joined the FIVB. The addition of volleyball to the Olympics in 1964 was another feather in FIVB’s cap. In 1969, the FIVB introduced the World Cup, which was by far the most significant international volleyball event and, by the 1990s, had become a qualifying event for the Olympics.

In 1984, the FIVB shifted its headquarters from France to Switzerland when its French president retired, and Ruben Acosta Hernandez was elected as the new president of FIVB. In the following years, the new management strived to promote volleyball globally and introduced various annual events for men’s and women’s teams. These include the world League, introduced in 1990, and Grand Prix, introduced in 1993, among others. 

In 1996, the FIVB also successfully got beach volleyball inducted into the Olympics. Under the FIVB’s supervision, the first Asian Volleyball Championship was organised in Tokyo in 1995. India landed the championship title after defeating Japan in the final match.

By 2020, the number of national federations affiliated with the FIVB had increased to 222. From an international perspective, sports cannot be isolated from global geo-political situations. It is why the FIVB suspended all national teams, clubs, athletes, and officials from Russia as a reaction to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Russia was set to host the FIVB Men’s volleyball championship in 2022, but following its suspension, the event was shifted to Poland and Slovenia.

Federation Internationale de Volleyball Role and Activities

The FIVB is mainly dedicated to planning and organising various volleyball events globally. It often liaises with various international sports governing organisations to organise this event, for instance, the International Olympics Council. It is a definitive participant in the organisation of international events which are of high significance, including the World Championship and Olympics. FIVB is also involved in determining and outlining procedures for qualifications, the competition formats for various events, and other details such as rules and restrictions, events venues, etc.

Besides the Olympic participation, which began in 1964, and the men’s and women’s World Championships, which were introduced in 1949 and 1952, respectively, the FIVB has also played a vital role in the introduction of other events like the World Cup, the World Grand Championship Cups, the men and women’s Nations League, Challenger Cup and Club World Championships. The Nations League, Challenger Cup, and the Club World Championships are held annually, while the other events are usually held every four years.

Besides these beach volleyball events, the FIVB also organises and administers underage competitions and holds biennial World Championships. 

In addition to these competitions, the FIVB is also involved in developing and maintaining specialized programs for the global growth and advancement of volleyball. Agreeably, volleyball does not enjoy the same popularity as other sports like soccer, and the FIVB aims to establish development centres in areas lacking in meeting international quality standards.

So a major aspect of the FIVB’s purpose of existence is to promote volleyball at the grass-root level, for which it organises workshops and courses for individuals associated with the sport in different capacities. The FIVB also strives to maintain a communication channel with sponsors and media partners to promote volleyball at the global level.

The FIVB also publishes world rankings which serve as criteria for international competitions and give teams an idea of where they stand in comparison to their counterparts. Lastly, since rules are a pertinent aspect of any sport, the FIVB, like its counterparts, is also responsible for standardising and ensuring adherence to rules. 

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